Chronicle of Higher Education - The origins of empathy — in mice?


If there is human empathy, and no one really doubts that, there should be animal precursors. Charles Darwin predicted this in 1872, in his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, but few scientists have pursued the idea.

Now a pain researcher in Montreal has stumbled across evidence that mice can feel for other mice—or at least act as if they do. It was an accidental observation, said Jeffrey S. Mogil, a professor of psychology at McGill University who presented his findings this week at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington.