Report Study shows rats feel empathy

FireCat

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At the very least, the new experiment reported in Science is going to make people think differently about what it means to be a “rat.” Eventually, though, it may tell us interesting things about what it means to be a human being.

In a simple experiment, researchers at the University of Chicago sought to find out whether a rat would release a fellow rat from an unpleasantly restrictive cage if it could. The answer was yes.

The free rat, occasionally hearing distress calls from its compatriot, learned to open the cage and did so with greater efficiency over time. It would release the other animal even if there wasn’t the payoff of a reunion with it. Astonishingly, if given access to a small hoard of chocolate chips, the free rat would usually save at least one treat for the captive — which is a lot to expect of a rat.

The researchers came to the unavoidable conclusion that what they were seeing was empathy — and apparently selfless behavior driven by that mental state. “There is nothing in it for them except for whatever feeling they get from helping another individual,” said Peggy Mason

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I don't know who ever thought animals don't have feelings, why the hell wouldn't they eh?
 

Accname

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So, they were torturing rats to see if other rats would feel bad for it?
Sounds like the rats act more humanely then the researchers.
 

Miz

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I don't think its that unbelievable at least through what the study says.

A major question that needs to be answered next is whether the free rat liberates the captive one to relieve its own stress or the stress of the other animal.

“It’s more likely to be the former,” Mogil said. “But even if it is the former, I’m not sure that’s so different from humans.”

Though the reason why I think its possible for rats to feel empathy is because rats are mainly social creatures. I am sure if we did something similar to other social creatures they could have empathy for another creature in its species. It would be beneficial if they could, how else could they interact and help one another?

However I think humans (and possibly other primates) are different in that they have empathy for other species. Such as rats and cats...
 

FireCat

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Well, dogs are the most empathetic towards humans. 'That's nothing new!' But other animals such as cats (And some other animals) can also showing emphatic like behaviour to other species. There's no doubt about it. Not Just primates Or Humans"
 

FireCat

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And I Say "Cats have feelings, they Just express it differently.!.
 

Accname

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I had a cat and a dog and the dog always tried to be nice to the cat, licking its wounds and letting it sleep by the dogs bed, but the cat always attacked the dog for some reason. It was quite funny to watch how the cat ran from the dog when the dog tried to help it.
 

FireCat

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but the cat always attacked the dog for some reason.
That's nothing weird about it. Your cat most likely was afraid Or didn't like your dog. Simple as that.

I had a cats and a dogs also. you see! hmm they did get along very well, they even snuggle together at times. ha
 

Fatmankev

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Though the reason why I think its possible for rats to feel empathy is because rats are mainly social creatures. I am sure if we did something similar to other social creatures they could have empathy for another creature in its species. It would be beneficial if they could, how else could they interact and help one another?

However I think humans (and possibly other primates) are different in that they have empathy for other species. Such as rats and cats...

I agree that they have a solid social intelligence, but I disagree with what you say makes people different - there are countless species of animals that will go as far as to "adopt" another entirely different animal. Most socially intelligent animals seem to exhibit empathy. Primates, incidentally, are very intelligent and very social creatures that are not extremely socially intelligent. Dogs, and likely rats, possess better social intelligence than primates regardless of the primates' close social structure. I don't think humans are really all that different, except that we're intelligent enough to perceive the idea of empathy and to act according to our moral compass. Or some such nonsense.
 
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