Rats Show Empathy, Too – NIH Research Matters

A new study shows that empathy may drive rats to help each other. The finding gives insight into the biological roots of our urge to assist others in need…

 

Empathy motivates us to take action. We feel distressed when another is suffering, and we want to stop it. Other primates like apes are also known to help each other when they perceive distress. Rats share the distress of other rats as well, but whether they would take the next step to assist a fellow rat in distress was unknown. Inbal Ben-Ami Bartal, Dr. Jean Decety and Dr. Peggy Mason at the University of Chicago developed a model to test whether rats would be driven by empathy to help each other.

 

by Harrison Wein