Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Chimpanzees empathize with group mates and humans, but not with baboons or unfamiliar chimpanzees."

 A newly reported study on Science Daily discussed an interesting behavior of Chimpanzees.  Just like us, Chimps show a "flexibility" in empathy, meaning that empathy can be expressed for more than just close family or group members.  Using contagious yawning (don't lie, you've all done this), the researchers found that "chimpanzees showed contagious yawning to familiar chimpanzees, familiar humans, and unfamiliar humans, but not to unfamiliar chimpanzees or an unfamiliar species (gelada baboons)."  Yawning was shown to be a sign of connectivity between individuals not just from being tired or bored in a 2011 study.  Using this trait, Chimps might be able to be convinced to empathize with "out groups" and increase chances of survival and genetic diversity.  Understanding these social and emotional interactions will also help scientists explore human barriers.

M. W. Campbell, F. B. M. de Waal. Chimpanzees empathize with group mates and humans, but not with baboons or unfamiliar chimpanzees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2014; 281 (1782): 20140013 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0013

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140311124202.htm

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