[Paleopsych] empathy [was] Positive emotions and perceptual accuracy
ross.buck at uconn.edu
Thu Feb 17 15:19:17 UTC 2005
Empathy can be defined in many ways--does a predator have empathy for its
prey when it judges accurately which way it will escape?--but many consider
nurturance and protectiveness to be important. To some extent, these are
necessary behaviors in birds and mammals, although different species do
display them to differing degrees. The differences between monogamous
prairie vole and polygamous meadow voles are particularly instructive, as
these tendencies are closely related to oxytocin and vasopressin systems.
There is recent evidence that, incredibly, the ruggedly individualistic but
philandering male meadow vole can be made to act like a sweet, sensitive,
reliable male prairie vole by the alteration of a single gene. Lim et al.
(2004) demonstrated that V1aR gene transfer into the ventral forebrain of
male meadow voles substantially increased partner preference formation. The
V1aR gene transfer increases vasopressin receptors in the ventral forebrain,
and the authors suggest that this has the effect of increasing social memory
of the partner's olfactory signature and also associating that social memory
with dopamine-mediated reward.
Don't try this at home.
Reference: Lim, M. M., Wang, Z., Olazabal, D. E., Ren, X., Terwilliger, E.
F., & Young, L. J. (2004) Enhanced partner preference in a promiscuous
species by manipulating the expression of a single gene. Nature. 429.
From: paleopsych-bounces at paleopsych.org
[mailto:paleopsych-bounces at paleopsych.org] On Behalf Of Lynn D. Johnson,
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2005 12:13 AM
To: The new improved paleopsych list
Subject: Re: [Paleopsych] empathy [was] Positive emotions and perceptual
Well, many mammals seem to have empathy. I do not think that reptiles
have empathy nor fish. I have not seen empathy in cows, but some in
horses. My Lab retriever has empathy for our cat, and the cat hates the
dog. I have not seen empathy in cats. No offense intended, you cat
lovers. Your examples are mostly chimps, and certainly they have
empathy. The bird studies show intelligence but I don't see the empathy.
Our bird has no empathy for anyone except the lovely bird behind the
mirror. Empathy is likely a limbic / neocortex combination, bigger
cortex, more empathy???. I suspect that animals living in groups would
tend to develop empathy.
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