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Empathy and Pro-Social Behavior in Rats (s2)

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Uploaded on Dec 8, 2011

Movie S2: Learning to open the door. Activity of the same free rat on days 1, 5, and 12 of the paradigm is shown. On day 1, the rat does not open the restrainer and 5 min of activity is shown at 20 times real time speed. On day 5, the rat opens the restrainer door for the first time 25 min into the session. Note the momentary startle at the door falling and the extended interaction with the liberated rat. On day 12, the rat opens the restrainer within the first minute. There is no startle and much less interaction between the two rats. Activity from days 5 and 12 are shown at real time.

Rats Feel Each Other's Pain

- Rats Feel Each Other's Pain
http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow...

- Helping Your Fellow Rat: Rodents Show Empathy-Driven Behavior
The first evidence of empathy-driven helping behavior in rodents has been observed in laboratory rats that repeatedly free companions from a restraint, according to a new study by University of Chicago neuroscientists.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...

- Empathetic Rats Help Each Other Out
The act of helping others out of empathy has long been associated strictly with humans and other primates, but new research shows that rats exhibit this prosocial behavior as well.
http://www.sott.net/articles/show/238...

Reference
- Social Modulation of Pain as Evidence for Empathy in Mice
Science 30 June 2006: Vol. 312 no. 5782 pp. 1967-1970 DOI: 10.1126/science.1128322
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/312...

Abstract
Empathy is thought to be unique to higher primates, possibly to humans alone. We report the modulation of pain sensitivity in mice produced solely by exposure to their cagemates, but not to strangers, in pain. Mice tested in dyads and given an identical noxious stimulus displayed increased pain behaviors with statistically greater co-occurrence, effects dependent on visual observation. When familiar mice were given noxious stimuli of different intensities, their pain behavior was influenced by their neighbor's status bidirectionally. Finally, observation of a cagemate in pain altered pain sensitivity of an entirely different modality, suggesting that nociceptive mechanisms in general are sensitized.

- Empathy and Pro-Social Behavior in Rats
Science 9 December 2011: Vol. 334 no. 6061 pp. 1427-1430 DOI: 10.1126/science.1210789
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334...

Abstract
Whereas human pro-social behavior is often driven by empathic concern for another, it is unclear whether nonprimate mammals experience a similar motivational state. To test for empathically motivated pro-social behavior in rodents, we placed a free rat in an arena with a cagemate trapped in a restrainer. After several sessions, the free rat learned to intentionally and quickly open the restrainer and free the cagemate. Rats did not open empty or object-containing restrainers. They freed cagemates even when social contact was prevented. When liberating a cagemate was pitted against chocolate contained within a second restrainer, rats opened both restrainers and typically shared the chocolate. Thus, rats behave pro-socially in response to a conspecific's distress, providing strong evidence for biological roots of empathically motivated helping behavior.

Supporting Online Material Video
- Movie S1: Five minutes of activity from representative rats in the object, empty and trapped conditions are shown. All movies are sped up by 6 times.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/sup...

- Movie S2: Learning to open the door. Activity of the same free rat on days 1, 5, and 12 of the paradigm is shown. On day 1, the rat does not open the restrainer and 5 min of activity is shown at 20 times real time speed. On day 5, the rat opens the restrainer door for the first time 25 min into the session. Note the momentary startle at the door falling and the extended interaction with the liberated rat. On day 12, the rat opens the restrainer within the first minute. There is no startle and much less interaction between the two rats. Activity from days 5 and 12 are shown at real time.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/sup...

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