Rats don't act like 'rats' - study
09 December 2011, 14:09
Washington - New experiments show that rats, despite their selfish reputation, don't act like, well, rats.
rats can be compassionate. They freed another trapped rat in their
cage, even when chocolate served as a tempting distraction.
of the 30 rats in the study opened the cage. The rats could have hogged
all the chocolate before freeing their partners, but often did not,
choosing to first help, then share.
Study author Peggy Mason of
the University of Chicago said females showed more empathy than males.
All six females freed their trapped partner; 17 of the 24 males did so.
said the study showed that pro-social empathy is not limited to humans
and primates as some people had thought. The research is reported in
Thursday's journal Science.