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Empathy and Prosocial Behaviorists. Insights from Intra-and Inter-species Interactions

By Maria Elide Vanutelli, Michela Balconi

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It has been suggested that "sharing the same body" between the observer and the observed subject allows for a direct form of understanding and emotional attuning by a process of simulation. Then, what happens when we don't have the same body? The aim of the present paper is to review available evidence of intra- and inter-species empathic and prosocial behaviours, with respect to within-human, within-animals and cross-specifies interactions. Similarities and differences will be evaluated using a comparative perspective, and some possible moral and ethical implications for human-animal interactions will be discussed. According to Charles Darwin's work, the perceived differences between human and animal empathy could be more quantitative than qualitative, suggesting a common affective core which allows both categories to mirror and tune to conspecifics' feelings, where in the case of humans it can be integrated wit more complex cognitive processes.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Volume 6
Issue 1
Pages 88-109
ISBN/ISSN 2039-4667
DOI 10.4453/rifp.2015.0007
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Emotions
  3. Empathy
  4. Human-animal interactions
  5. Interspecies interactions
  6. open access
  7. Prosocial Behavior
  1. open access