Neuroscientist Peggy Mason, PhD, on PBS' NOVA ScienceNOW

November 5, 2012

The first evidence of empathy-driven helping behavior in rodents was observed in laboratory rats late last year. In a study -- published by Peggy Mason, PhD, Professor of Neurobiology, and her colleagues -- rats were given the choice to open a container of chocolate chips and enjoy a feast, or free a trapped companion and share the chocolate. The results suggest that humans aren't the only to feel empathy for the distress of another and act upon it.

Peggy Mason will discuss the group's findings on the PBS program "NOVA ScienceNOW" in an installment that explores how animals -- ranging from dogs to dolphins to rats -- think.

"What Are Animals Thinking?" airs Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 at 10 p.m. on PBS.

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John Easton
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john.easton@uchospitals.edu