SSRI drugs, not depression, destroy empathy

Yet another medical myth gets busted today. A common dogma in psychiatry is that one of the core symptoms of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) is lack of empathy. In other words, while such patients are perfectly in tune with their own suffering and negative emotions, they are indifferent (and sometimes even pleased) at … Read more

Testosterone does NOT impair empathy in men

I am sure most readers are quite familiar with the cliche that testosterone (T) is what drives stereotypical “boy behavior” – aggressiveness, carelessness, impulsive behavior, risk taking, cheating, and of course the militaristic attitude characterized by lack of (or reduced) empathy. As I mentioned in several previous posts, most of these behaviors seem to be … Read more

Goats are “excellent listeners”, can recognize and respond to the feelings of their peers

Apparently, the expression “dull as a sheep/goat” needs to be revised. According to the study below, goats are not only perfectly capable of distinguishing various emotions in their peers’ calls but can also recognize their relatives, empathize with their peers’ emotions and even respond to these emotions – i.e. cheer a sad peer up. They … Read more

Rats react the same way to observing pain in others as if they experience it themselves

So much for animals lacking empathy, or being “selfish machines” as famously coined by that sociopath Richard Dawkins. It never seizes to amaze how people like him who are so opposed to the idea of altruism keep arguing that their ideas are not anti-social at all and are perfectly compatible with large numbers of people … Read more