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Apes are as empathetic as humans?

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It’s a good thing our coffee breaks get automatically extended in the summer.

Further to: Premenstrual syndrome exists to break up infertile relationships?

We learn that apes are as empathetic as humans because

Contagious yawning has long been linked to empathy: humans and apes yawn more in response to the yawns of their kin and friends. Now, scientists studying yawn contagion have shown that humans may not always be the most empathetic species. Their results, published today (August 12) in PeerJ, show that humans yawn more than bonobos only when close family and friends trigger the yawns. In the presence of mere acquaintances, however, humans and bonobos showed similar yawn sensitivity.

In short, the measure was made up by some researchers and has nothing to do with anything most human beings would identify as empathy.

For one thing, a human version of empathy would require a high level of intelligence, to understand the issues. Humans rescue apes from extinction, but don’t expect the favour to usually be returned.

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But contagious yawning is considered to be a form of empathy, Denyse. You can deny it all day, but psychologists have studied it and reached that conclusion: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/contagious-yawn.htm Recently, elephants have also been shown to be empathetic: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/02/140221-elephants-poaching-empathy-grief-extinction-science/ You're trying to play down any hint that human emotions are not far removed from the rest of the animal world. Yes, we express more deeper feelings, but the same emotions exist, maybe in a rudimentary form, in other animals too. We're not specially created, we just evolved from animals. The psychological evidence agrees with the biological evidence. Evolve
What humans usually mean by empathy involves a high level of intellectual ability to discern the nature of the problem. It is quite true that animals often help each other, including members of other species. I've written on that subject myself, including here. But empathy isn't mere sympathy. Empathy includes realizing (or trying to realize) the nature of the other individual's problem, not just responding to apparent needs (sympathy). Empathy involves abstractions. Group yawns are not an abstraction. Hippocratic medicine (and veterinary practice) was built on empathy, not sympathy. It means learning how diseases, disorders, and disabilities happen - and how they might not happen. It is a hard school, not a cakewalk through sentimentality. News
One report said Koko could do sign language. Can anyone confirm that? Meanwhile I don't believe it. Sirius
Giving love to another also benefits ones own well being:
Study finds it actually is better (and healthier) to give than to receive – February 4, 2013 Excerpt: A five-year study by researchers at three universities has established that providing tangible assistance to others protects our health and lengthens our lives. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-02-healthier.html
also of note:
How those marital rows can be bad for your health by JENNY HOPE – December 2005 Excerpt: Married couples who constantly argue risk damaging their health, according to a study. It found that marital rows can prolong the time it takes the body to heal itself after an injury. One argument alone can slow this process by a day. And the study claims that when married couples feel consistently hostile towards one another, the delay in the healing process can be doubled. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-370708/How-marital-rows-bad-health.html
Perhaps this tangible effect of love on health goes a long way towards explaining why women, who, IMHO, are generally more loving and caring than men are, live on average five to 10 years longer than men do. Of course from a Theistic perspective this tangible effect of love is to be expected, whereas from a materialistic perspective, well to put it mildly, from a materialistic perspective of survival of the fittest, dog eat dog, it is very counter intuitive: Verse and music:
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.,,, For King & Country "The Proof Of Your Love" - Live Music http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pr9YVD05x8M
Further notes:
The Healing Power of Positive Words By Linda Wasmer Andrews - Jun 08, 2012 Excerpt: When researchers analyzed the autobiographies of famous deceased psychologists, they found that those who used lots of active positive words (such as lively, enthusiastic, happy) tended to outlive their other colleagues. Within this category of words, the biggest boost came from humor-related terms (such as laugh, funny, giggle), which were associated with living six years longer, on average. In contrast, passive positive words (such as peaceful, calm, relaxed) and negative words (such as worried, angry, lonely) didn’t affect longevity. http://health.yahoo.net/experts/allinyourmind/health-power-positive-words The health benefits of happiness - Mark Easton - 2006 Excerpt: "It's not just that if you're physically well you're likely to be happy but actually the opposite way round," said Dr Cox. (Extensive studies show that) "If you are happy you are (much more) likely in the future to have less in the way of physical illness than those who are unhappy". http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/happiness_formula/4924180.stm Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Are Religious People Happier Than Atheists? - 2000 Excerpt: there does indeed appear to be a link between religion and happiness. Several studies have been done, but to give an example, one study found that the more frequently people attended religious events, the happier they were; 47% of people who attended several types a week reported that they were ‘very happy’, as opposed to 28% who attended less than monthly. http://generallythinking.com/are-religious-people-happier-than-atheists/ Atheism and health Excerpt: A meta-analysis of all studies, both published and unpublished, relating to religious involvement and longevity was carried out in 2000. Forty-two studies were included, involving some 126,000 subjects. Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.[4][5] http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_health
Verse, Music and Quote:
1 John 4:10-12 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. Isaiah 49:16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Your Love Oh Lord - Third Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mP4LhdE4vc "The only human emotion I could feel was pure, unrelenting, unconditional love. Take the unconditional love a mother has for a child and amplify it a thousand fold, then multiply exponentially. The result of your equation would be as a grain of sand is to all the beaches in the world. So, too, is the comparison between the love we experience on earth to what I felt during my experience. This love is so strong, that words like "love" make the description seem obscene. It was the most powerful and compelling feeling. But, it was so much more. I felt the presence of angels. I felt the presence of joyous souls, and they described to me a hundred lifetimes worth of knowledge about our divinity. Simultaneous to the deliverance of this knowledge, I knew I was in the presence of God. I never wanted to leave, never." Judeo-Christian Near Death Experience Testimony In The Presence Of Almighty God - The NDE of Mickey Robinson - video https://vimeo.com/92172680
as to love, a few notes: a caring, loving, touch from the baby towards the mother's uterine wall is found very early on in a baby's development:
Wired to Be Social: The Ontogeny of Human Interaction - 2010 Excerpt: Kinematic analysis revealed that movement duration was longer and deceleration time was prolonged for other-directed movements compared to movements directed towards the uterine wall. Similar kinematic profiles were observed for movements directed towards the co-twin and self-directed movements aimed at the eye-region, i.e. the most delicate region of the body. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0013199
This 'caring touch' is also displayed in twins:
Twin fetuses learn how to be social in the womb - October 13, 2010 Excerpt: Humans have a deep-seated urge to be social, and new research on the interactions of twins in the womb suggests this begins even before babies are born.,,, The five pairs of twins were found to be reaching for each other even at 14 weeks, and making a range of contacts including head to head, arm to head and head to arm. By the time they were at 18 weeks, they touched each other more often than they touched their own bodies, spending up to 30 percent of their time reaching out and stroking their co-twin.,,, Kinematic analyses of the recordings showed the fetuses made distinct gestures when touching each other, and movements lasted longer — their hands lingered. They also took as much care when touching their twin’s delicate eye region as they did with their own. This type of contact was not the same as the inevitable contact between two bodies sharing a confined space or accidental contacts between the bodies and the walls of the uterus,,, The findings clearly demonstrate it is deep within human nature to reach out to other people. http://phys.org/news/206164323-twin-fetuses-social-womb.html
Of related note: Twins are fairly well known for having a 'spooky' bond with each other throughout their lives:
(Spooky) Stories from and about other twins Excerpt: When I was 15 years old I had to have an operation on my tummy, which she (my twin) didn't know about; when my mum called her from the hospital she had the pain too. She had the same operation exactly a year after I had mine and I felt her pain too. We always know when the other is in trouble or hurt and she's the best friend that anyone could have. http://twinsrealm.com/othr_txt.html
Dr. Raymond Moody, in his book 'Glimpses Of Eternity', has an example of twins who, even though the twins were separated by miles when one of the twins died, 'shared' a deep Near Death Experience.
Glimpses of Eternity (Shared Death Experiences) by Raymond Moody http://www.amazon.com/Glimpses-Eternity-Raymond-Moody/dp/0824948130
This "Shared Death Experience' phenomena holds for people who, though they are not twins, none-the-less have a deep loving, life-long, relationship with each other:
Dr.Raymond Moody on Shared Death Experiences - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-ihzzYjqeE
The following study shows we may be a lot closer than we think to the people we love:
Human brains are hardwired for empathy, friendship, study shows, - August 22, 2013 Excerpt: "Perhaps one of the most defining features of humanity is our capacity for empathy – the ability to put ourselves in others' shoes. A new University of Virginia study strongly suggests that we are hardwired to empathize because we closely associate people who are close to us – friends, spouses, lovers – with our very selves. "With familiarity, other people become part of ourselves," said James Coan, a U.Va. psychology professor in the College of Arts & Sciences who used functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans to find that people closely correlate people to whom they are attached to themselves. ..."Our self comes to include the people we feel close to," Coan said. ..."The finding shows the brain's remarkable capacity to model self to others; that people close to us become a part of ourselves, and that is not just metaphor or poetry, it's very real." http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-08-human-brains-hardwired-empathy-friendship.html
Also of interest, 'Moral evaluations of harm are instant and emotional':
Moral evaluations of harm are instant and emotional, brain study shows – November 29, 2012 Excerpt: People are able to detect, within a split second, if a hurtful action they are witnessing is intentional or accidental, new research on the brain at the University of Chicago shows. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-11-moral-instant-emotional-brain.html
Love and care is shown to have a tangible healing effect:
ABC News – The Science Behind the Healing Power of Love – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t1p-PwGgE4 Social isolation and its health implications January 2012 Excerpt: Studies show that social isolation and/or loneliness predict morbidity and mortality from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and a host of other diseases. In fact, the body perceives loneliness as a threat. Research from the University of California suggests that loneliness or lack of social support could triple the odds of being diagnosed with a heart condition. Redford Williams and his colleagues at Duke University directed a study in 1992 on heart patients and their relationships. They discovered that 50% of patients with heart disease who did not have a spouse or someone to confide in died within five years, while only 17% of those who did have a confidante died in the same time period.12 http://www.how-to-be-healthy.org/social-isolation-and-its-health-implications/
Robin Williams had a female gorilla friend. Koko. News reports claim that on hearing of his death she was near tears. So don't tell me that apes aren't empathetic! (tongue in cheek!) Sci AM says that apes can't cry; lies! (more TIC) Just watch this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2723584/She-extremely-sad-Sign-language-gorilla-Koko-close-tears-following-news-Robin-Williams-death-13-years-video-captured-two-fast-friends.html And this (which may prove not only empathy, but that apes may be even more intelligent than some humans): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74-WSM0xTyE leodp
'For one thing, a human version of empathy would require a high level of intelligence, to understand the issues. Humans rescue apes from extinction, but don’t expect the favour to usually be returned.' Yes, but understanding the issues is hardly a factor in raw empathy, Denyse. There are endless videos on the internet recording animals showing cross-species compassion. And don't forget the street-dogs who licked Lazarus' sores. I know there's the conundrum of reflective and non-reflective intelligence. I fear to look at your video clip. Just seeing the similarity to ourselves of chimps, particularly in captivity, gives me the horrors. Below, are a couple of examples of that mammalian compassion. 'Flowing with the eponymous milk of mammalian kindness', you might say,...... unless you considered it too convoluted and pretentious. http://myfox8.com/2014/07/19/dog-travels-eight-miles-each-night-to-feed-her-friends/ http://www.examiner.com/article/brown-grizzly-bear-saves-crow-from-drowning-amazingly-gentle-rescue When he started scoffing some nosh, I thought, for a moment, he'd lost interest! Axel

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