09 Dec '11, 12am

Rats will often give up a chocolate treat if it means they can help another rat escape restraints

Rats will often give up a chocolate treat if it means they can help another rat escape restraints

This undated handout photo provided by the journal Science shows the presence of a rat trapped in a restrainer elicits focused activity from his cagemate, leading eventually to door-opening and consequent liberation of the trapped rat. -- PHOTO: AP WASHINGTON (AFP) - Lab rats have feelings, too. Given a choice between munching on a tasty chocolate treat or helping a fellow rat escape from a restraint, test rodents often preferred to liberate a pal in need, indicating that their empathy for others was reward enough. The observation by University of Chicago neuroscientists, published on Thursday in the journal Science, suggests that even these primitive creatures are wired to show benevolence for their own kind. 'This is the first evidence of helping behaviour triggered by empathy in rats,' said researcher Jean Decety, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/TechandScience/S...

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