Rats Show Empathy and Pro-Social Behavior—or Do They?

Rats display traits that we like to think are distinctively human.


…But the question of empathy in other animals may never be fully settled, for such matters get into psychological territory that raises deep philosophical questions such as the distinction (if there is one) between brain and mind and the relation between thought and feeling.


What we can say is that rats seem to have empathy and act pro-socially. This is a good thing to know, for it shows that both these traits may well be part of the human psyche that precedes learning. It doesn’t demonstrate that humans are good by nature, but it does make a strong case that being good is part of human nature…


by Arthur Dobrin