Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

   Home    Conference   Magazine   Empathy Tent   Services    Newsletter   Facebook    Youtube   Contact   Search

Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

Empathic Design
Empathy Circles

  Restorative Empathy Circles
Empathy Tent

Expert Interviews
Obama on Empathy


    Empathy Tests


Culture of Empathy Builder:  Peggy Mason


Peggy Mason and Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy

 Peggy Mason Department of Neurobiology, University of Chicago,   Chicago, Ill.
Author Medical Neurobiology
"my laboratory has begun to concentrate on the biological basis of empathy. While my interest in pain modulation endures, primarily through collaborative work, the bulk of the current work in the laboratory is focused on empathic helping. "





Mason Lab 
At the Mason Lab we are currently interested in the presence of empathy and helping behavior in rats. Recently we showed that rats help a cagemate who is trapped in a Plexiglass tube by deliberately, intentionally, and rapidly opening the door to the tube and liberating the cagemate. Rats do not open the door of either an empty restrainer or one containing a toy rat.

Article: Empathy is a Pain. So Why Bother?

 Mason lab uncovers empathy-driven helping behavior in rodents
Helping a Cagemate in Need

Rats Might Be Empathic and Will Help Other Rats in Need
Rats Feel Each Other's Pain - ScienceNOW



2013-02-13 - Exploring empathy and altruism in the animal world

""In the latest NeuroTalk podcast, Forrest Collman, PhD, interviews study co-author Peggy Mason, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, about the experiment. During the talk they discuss what led Mason to investigate empathy and helping behaviors, and whether she would free a friend at the expense of having to share a tasty treat."

Back in 2011, a study (subscription required) showing how a group of lab rats repeatedly freed their trapped friends (often even choosing to do so before eating a coveted snack) garnered a fair amount of media buzz. Researchers involved in the study said the findings suggested that empathy, driven by anotherís pain, was not limited to humans and animals of higher intelligence but rather was widespread in the animal kingdom."

  • Introduction

  • History of her work

  • 2:50 You study empathy and helping behavior - Rat Studies

    • Pain research

    • When we see pain we fell the pain

    • We can empathically feel the affect of another.

    • emotional contagion and in rats

  • 5:50 - My lab is 80 or 90% empathy

    • Rats will help each other get out of prison

    • detail of developing the rat experiment

  • 18:00 future studies