Chapter

Empathy in Primates and Other Mammals

Frans B. M. de Waal

in Empathy

Published by The MIT Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780262016612
Published online August 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780262298612 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/9780262016612.003.0006
Empathy in Primates and Other Mammals

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This chapter focuses on reactions similar to empathy in animals. It presents the similarity of bodily synchronization between primates and human beings through the example of chimpanzees, who yawn seeing another chimpanzee yawn just as human beings do, and reveals the existence of empathy in animals through experiments on rodents. Preconcern is a phenomenon where there is a blind attraction of an organism toward other distressed organisms to make contact and to comfort them. This chapter discusses the theory of mind mechanism in animals, where the animals copy each others’ emotions to make emotional contact. Despite the studies revealing spontaneous consolation among apes, humans are still depicted as the only true altruistic species.

Keywords: empathy; bodily synchronization; primates; preconcern; theory of mind; consolation

Chapter.  7779 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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