THE SOCIAL MODULATION OF HELPING
Our research shows helping in rats is not determined by the identity of the rat in need. Rather, the motivation to help others is guided by the social experience that free rats previously had with the strain of the rat in need. In the image below, an albino rat of the Sprague-Dawley strain is shown moments after releasing a trapped stranger of the black - hooded Long-Evans strain. This behavior was only observed in rats who had previously lived with another rat of the black-hooded strain.
SOCIETY FOR SOCIAL NEUROSCIENCE
in an action-packed day of lectures at the Society for Social Neuroscience meeting this year we heard fascinating talks from investigators in the field of Social Neuroscience like Larry Young, Jean Decety, Brian Knutson, Jaak Pankseep and others. In my talk I discussed some of our new findings regarding the social modulation of helping behavior in rats, as well as the contribution of emotional contagion to motivated helping behavior in rats.
In this video you can observe a rat learning to open the restrainer to release a trapped cagemate over a 12 day period. The video is narrated by Dr. Peggy Mason.
THE EMPATHIC HELPING TEST
Photo: Kevin Jiang