Empathy and the Laws of Affect

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Science  09 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6061, pp. 1358-1359
DOI: 10.1126/science.1216480

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There is a growing recognition of how animals respond to the affective states of other animals (1, 2), including the show of empathy, a state once thought to be unique to primates. On page 1427 of this issue, Ben-Ami Bartal et al. (3) demonstrate that captive rats controlled experiments act prosocially to help other rats, even when they receive no explicit social rewards. This raises questions about the affective experiences of animals other than humans.