Empathy in Rats?

While many people hold negative perceptions of rats, owners of pet rats are usually eager to describe the positive attributes of their pet, including their playfulness and affection. Science is now backing up their claims.  Study results have found that a rat will work very hard at freeing another rat that is trapped, learning how to unlock a clear container; when the container is empty or holds something like a stuff animal, the rat is not likely to bother.  Rats who also had a container containing chocolate would unlock that, but their were apt to set some chocolate aside to share with their fellow rat.

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I feel for you. Really.

A more non-scholarly explanation of a thread of neuroscience research, some from the University of Washington. It will be interesting to see where they go with this over the next several years.

“…while almost all humans use mirror neurons, empaths are finely tuned to theirs. Empaths seem to display inexplicable powers of sense. They sometimes know that people in distant places are in trouble, or that something is going to happen before it does. This has resonances in the animal world, wh…”

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