Empathy and Animals
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Empathy and Animals
International News and Information about Empathy and Compassion with, by and for Animals - for more see: CultureOfEmpathy.com
Curated by Edwin Rutsch
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Empathic Contagion: Puppies Don't Catch People's Yawns | Video

A puppy with a familiar and unfamiliar experimenter in a study that found that while dogs can 'catch' yawns from humans, puppies younger than seven months ar...

 

 

Contagious yawning in domestic dog puppies (Canis lupus familiaris): the effect of ontogeny and emotional closeness on low-level imitation in dogs
Elainie Alenkær Madsen and Tomas Persson

http://j.mp/RlYtzn

"Contagious yawning is a well-documented phenomenon in humans and has recently attracted much attention from developmental and comparative sciences. The function, development and underlying mechanisms of the phenomenon, however, remain largely unclear. Contagious yawning has been demonstrated in dogs and several non-human primate species, and theoretically and empirically associated with empathy in humans and non-human primates."

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Puppies don't pick up on yawns: Dogs, like humans, show a gradual development of susceptibility to contagious yawning

Puppies don't pick up on yawns: Dogs, like humans, show a gradual development of susceptibility to contagious yawning | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Do you get tired when others yawn? Does your dog get tired when you yawn? New research from Sweden establishes that dogs catch yawns from humans. But not if the dogs are too young.  The study, published in Springer's journal Animal Cognition, found that, like humans, dogs show a developmental trend in susceptibility to contagious yawning. While dogs above seven months of age catch human yawns, younger dogs are immune to yawn contagion.

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Study: Contagious yawning in domestic dog puppies (Canis lupus familiaris): the effect of ontogeny and emotional closeness on low-level imitation in dogs

Study: Contagious yawning in domestic dog puppies (Canis lupus familiaris): the effect of ontogeny and emotional closeness on low-level imitation in dogs | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Contagious yawning is a well-documented phenomenon in humans and has recently attracted much attention from developmental and comparative sciences. The function, development and underlying mechanisms of the phenomenon, however, remain largely unclear. Contagious yawning has been demonstrated in dogs and several non-human primate species, and theoretically and empirically associated with empathy in humans and non-human primates. Evidence of emotional closeness modulating contagious yawning in dogs has, nonetheless, been contradictory.

 

 

Humans show a developmental increase in susceptibility to yawn contagion, with typically developing children displaying a substantial increase at the age of four, when a number of cognitive abilities (e.g. accurate identification of others’ emotions) begin to clearly manifest. Explicit tests of yawn contagion in non-human animals have, however, thus far only involved adult individuals. Here, we report a study of the ontogeny of domestic dogs’ (Canis lupus familiaris) susceptibility to yawn contagion, and whether emotional closeness to the yawning model affects this.

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Yawns might be contagious to your dog

Yawns might be contagious to your dog | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Does your dog yawn when you yawn? Probably. You see, according to new research published in the upcoming November edition of Animal Cognition, by Lund University in Sweden, yawning is contagious – not just for other humans but for your dog too. If your dog is older than 7 months, that is. Apparently younger dogs are immune to yawn contagion. Researchers haven’t quite figured that out yet, but research suggests that it may be related to empathy.

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Chris Cole's curator insight, September 6, 2013 10:15 AM

it can also spread from and to cats in our house. All this becomes interesting as for decades animals were thought of as automata without thoughts or feeling which when you consider we share a similar brain structure is a very human centric outlook

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Video: Dogs really are man’s best friend

Video: Dogs really are man’s best friend | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

We've always known dogs are a mans best friend, now one study backs up the claim... The study from Goldsmith’s University in London looked at how dogs reacted to humans in distress… the results? Dogs expressed empathic behavior towards people who seemed upset by approaching them more often than people who were not in distress.

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Canine Empathy: Your Dog Really Does Care If You Are Unhappy

Canine Empathy: Your Dog Really Does Care If You Are Unhappy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

New research shows that dogs respond to their owner's unhappiness.  

 

People often report that it seems as if their dogs are reading their emotional state and responding in much the same way that a human would, providing sympathy and comfort, or joining in their joy...

 

Such incidents involving pet dogs appear to be quite common and at face value they seem to show that dogs are showing empathy for their owners. Generally speaking empathy can be defined as the ability to put oneself into the mental shoes of another person to understand and even share their emotions and feelings. Although dog owners seem to be quite sure that their dogs have empathy for their feelings, if you make that suggestion to a group of psychologists are behavioral biologists it is more apt to start an argument rather than to bring out nods of agreement.

 

by Stanley Coren 

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Kevin Behan & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Dogs

Kevin Behan & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Dogs | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Kevin Behan is a dog trainer and has written articles about empathy in dogs. He is author of: Your Dog Is Your Mirror: The Emotional Capacity of Our Dogs and Ourselves. "canine cognition labs around the world are conducting experiments to elucidate how dogs have become so attuned to human beings that they seem to have developed a capacity for empathy. But is this kind of empathy a form of emotional contagion or a form of higher cognition? Or is it something else entirely?... "


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Lee Charles Kelley & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Dogs

Lee Charles Kelley & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Dogs | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Lee Charles Kelley is a dog trainer and has written articles about empathy in dogs. He writes a blog in Psychologytoday.com called My Puppy, My Self: How dogs make us human.

 

Lee and I talked about the nature of empathy in dogs from Lee's perspective of working with dogs as a trainer and having been an actor. We also reviewed the study, 'Empathic-like responding by domestic dogs to distress in humans', by Debbie Custance, and the related articles by Stanley Coren and Kevin Behan. We talked about the definitions of empathy and how dogs don't have the higher self-awareness based empathy that human have.
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Video: Why Dogs Really Do Feel Your Pain : Discovery News

Video: Why Dogs Really Do Feel Your Pain : Discovery News | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Dogs may empathize with humans more than any other animal, including humans themselves, several new studies suggest.

 

The latest research, published in the journal Animal Cognition, found that pet dogs may truly be man (or woman's) best friend if a person is in distress. That distressed individual does not even have to be someone the dog knows.

 

"I think there is good reason to suspect dogs would be more sensitive to human emotion than other species," co-author Deborah Custance told Discovery News. "We have domesticated dogs over a long period of time. We have selectively bred them to act as our companions.

 

By Jennifer Viegas

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Rat and ant rescues 'don't show empathy' - University of Oxford

Rat and ant rescues 'don't show empathy' - University of Oxford | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Studies of how rats and ants rescue other members of their species do not prove that animals other than humans have empathy, according to a team led by Oxford University scientists.

 

Empathy – recognising and sharing feelings experienced by another individual – is a key human trait and to understand its evolution numerous studies have looked for evidence of it in non-human animals

 

The article, entitled 'Pro-sociality without empathy' is published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

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Animal Empathy? Do animals possess empathy?

Animal Empathy? Do animals possess empathy? | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Do animals possess empathy? A loaded question. A couple of recent studies have claimed they do (think of rescue rats and yawning dogs). But, as I asked in the post about the yawning dog study, is that really what is shown? A recent article in Biology Letters addresses this query.

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Do Dogs Have Empathy? Or Is It a Sixth Sense?

Do Dogs Have Empathy? Or Is It a Sixth Sense? | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

How Dogs Respond to Our Hidden Desires...

 

Dogs inherited this ability and started using it on us, manipulating us into “domesticating” them. Over the years they developed a deeper and stronger ability to tune into our emotional states. It’s what enables them to work for us and, quite often, to comfort us when we’re not feeling well.

 

It’s not empathy. And it’s not emotional contagion. I think it's more like a sixth sense, an ability to tune in to our emotional vibrations.

 

by Lee Charles Kelley

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Canine Empathy

Canine Empathy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Sandy Robins discusses canine empathy, and what dogs really think when you are hurt or sad.

 

Picture this. You are taking your dog for a typical neighborhood walk. All of a sudden, you trip over some uneven concrete on the pavement and fall flat on your face, twisting your ankle and remain lying there.

 

Your dog instantly comes over to you and starts whimpering. In your pain, you glance up and he starts licking you. Could that possibly be a look of "canine concern" on his face? Further, he remains by your side until you are able to get up and get moving again.

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VIDEO: Puppies Learn to Catch Yawns As They Grow

VIDEO: Puppies Learn to Catch Yawns As They Grow | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Yawns aren't contagious to puppies, but they are for grown-up doggies.

 

Contagious yawning is important because it may indicate empathy, a trait that is contested in non-human animals. Lund University researchers Elainie Alenkaer Madsen and Tomas Persson wanted to find out if empathy is at the bottom of canine yawning.

They tested 35 ordinary pet dogs, ages 4 months to 14 months. Puppies were chosen because in humans, empathetic abilities develop over time.

 

Stephanie Pappas

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Puppies can't catch yawns: New research suggests the remarkable empathy of man's best friend develops as animals age

Puppies can't catch yawns: New research suggests the remarkable empathy of man's best friend develops as animals age | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Empathy, a sensitivity to the emotional responses of others, is difficult to measure directly, but contagious yawning allows assessment of a behavioural empathetic response, the researchers say.

 

Puppies can't catch yawns but older dogs do, according to new research that suggests that the animals' remarkable sense of empathy develops as they mature.
Contagious yawning is not just a sign of sleepiness or boredom. Previous research has shown the behaviour in humans, adult chimpanzees, baboons and dogs, and suggests that it can be used as a measure of empathy

 

By DAMIEN GAYLE

 

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Puppies Only Pick Up Yawns When They're Old Enough To Understand Empathy

Puppies Only Pick Up Yawns When They're Old Enough To Understand Empathy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Dogs catch contagious yawns just like people, baboons and chimps, which can be used as a measure of empathy. But this is a behavior they learn after they emerge from youngest puppyhood, a new study says. Like people, young dogs show a developmental trend in their likelihood of catching yawns. This is the first time anyone has studied young-organism yawning in a species other than people.


Anyone who owns a dog knows you can catch a yawn from your pet, and vice versa. My dog, a 5-year-old border collie rescue, has this piercing yawn-peak squeal and head shiver that literally makes it impossible not to catch it. And I have seen her watching me, yawning after I do.

 

By Rebecca Boyle

 

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Geographic Empathy: The Growth of Geographic Empathy

Geographic Empathy: The Growth of Geographic Empathy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

I believe geographic empathy is:

 

the desire to feel(.)
the roll of the land
through my feet, my wheels
"the bulge and nuzzle of the sea"
through my boat, my body
to taste the flavor of geography
without the essence of the death of
the killing of
all the wildlife
I wish I could be.

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Debbie Custance & Edwin Rutsch: Study on Dogs having Empathy for People in Distress

Debbie Custance & Edwin Rutsch: Study on Dogs having Empathy for People in Distress | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Debbie Custance is a lecturer at Goldsmiths College, Department of Psychology, London. She coauthored a study titled, 'Empathic-like responding by domestic dogs to distress in humans: An exploratory study'.


The study tested how dogs respond to someone pretending to cry and be in distress. The majority of dogs came over to the person crying in a way that seemed to express empathic concern. "When the stranger pretended to cry, rather than approaching their usual source of comfort, their owner, dogs sniffed, nuzzled and licked the stranger instead. The dogs’ pattern of response was behaviorally consistent with an expression of empathic concern..."

 

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Stanley Coren & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Dogs

Stanley Coren & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Dogs | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Stanley Coren is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of many best-selling books on dogs including, 'How Dogs Think: Understanding the Canine Mind', 'How To Speak Dog' and 'The Modern Dog'.


Stanley says empathy is the glue that connects us and that "there is a consensus that the mind of a dog is very similar in capacity and behaviors to the mind of a human 2 to 3-year-old." "Recent research demonstrates that dogs have empathy and recognize when humans are emotionally distressed. Their response is an attempt to comfort the unhappy person as best they can." One way to foster empathy in children is for children to have a dog, which helps them learn how to connect and relate to others. The dog will not judge them but offers empathic connection.


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The Canine-Human Bond: Empathy in Rats? Altruism in Wolves?

The Canine-Human Bond: Empathy in Rats? Altruism in Wolves? | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Empathy, Emotional Resonance, or DNA?
By Lee Charles Kelley...

 

In an online discussion, neurobiologists J. David Jentsch and Dario Ringach — both from the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA — offered several alternative interpretations of the data, which don't require that the rats exhibited empathy or behaved in an altruistic manner.

 

Evolutionary psychiatrist, Jaak Panksepp — writing in the same edition of Science Magazine that published the rat-empathy paper — points out, "It is unclear whether the rats sympathize with the distress of their cage-mates, or simply feel better as they alleviate the perceived distress of others."

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Man's TRUE best friend: How dogs can respond to our emotions more than other humans

Man's TRUE best friend: How dogs can respond to our emotions more than other humans | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Dogs nuzzle and lick humans they think are in distress - behaving in a submissive manner designed to offer comfort, say Goldsmiths, University of London researchers.

 

‘No such preference was found. The dogs approached whoever was crying regardless of their identity. Thus they were responding to the person's emotion, not their own needs, which is suggestive of empathic-like comfort-offering behaviour.’


Custance told Discovery News: 'We have domesticated dogs over a long period of time. We have selectively bred them to act as our companions.

 

By EDDIE WRENN

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Courthouse Dogs--Promoting Justice with Compassion

Courthouse Dogs--Promoting Justice with Compassion | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Centre County, Pennsylvania has developed a program that uses a highly trained dog to provide emotional support for children in the County's criminal justice system. The program was developed by Judge Brad Lunsford and Faith Burger and is reported to be the first program of its kind in Pennsylvania.

 

The Centre County District Attorney says that its dog "Princess" "...specializes in comforting and easing the fears of the children of our community who have been victimized and who are required to come into the courtroom setting to testify."  

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Rogério Rocha's comment, August 28, 2012 7:46 PM
A laudable initiative!
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Rat and ant rescues 'don't show empathy'

Rat and ant rescues 'don't show empathy' | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Studies of how rats and ants rescue other members of their species do not prove that animals other than humans have empathy, according to biologists.

 

The ability to rescue another individual in distress, a typical empathic response of humans, appears in several other animals. Two recent laboratory studies led by US and French researchers looked at how rats and ants will attempt to free individuals of the same species they share a cage or nest with which have been restrained. However, writing in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, the Oxford-led team argues that such studies are not rigorous enough to separate examples of 'pro-social' behavior, the tendency to behave so as to benefit another individual, from genuine empathy.

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Empathy & Evolution: How Dogs Convert Stress Into Flow

Empathy & Evolution: How Dogs Convert Stress Into Flow | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Guest Blogger Kevin Behan Explains the Evolution of “Empathy” in Dogs
on Lee Charles Kelley bolg

 

From unknown beginnings, the relationship between dog and man is constantly evolving to render more and more ways of service....

 

Meanwhile canine cognition labs around the world are conducting experiments to elucidate how dogs have become so attuned to human beings that they seem to have developed a capacity for empathy. But is this kind of empathy a form of emotional contagion or a form of higher cognition? Or is it something else entirely?

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Empathy and the brain

Empathy and the brain | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Empathy isn't just some airy-fairy concept. Nonhuman animals show signs of empathy, and neuroscientists have discovered empathy circuits in the brain.

 

Human empathy depends on the ability to share the emotions of others—to “feel” what other people feel.

It is regarded by many people as the foundation of moral behavior.

But to some, the concept seems rather airy-fairy. What does it mean to say “I feel your pain”? Isn’t that just a fanciful flight of the imagination?

Well, not really.

For one thing, it turns out nonhuman animals—-even rodents-—show evidence of empathy.

 

by Gwen Dewa

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