Social modulation of pain as evidence for empathy in mice.

Bibliographic Collection: 
MOCA Reference, APE
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Langford, Dale J; Crager, Sara E; Shehzad, Zarrar; Smith, Shad B; Sotocinal, Susana G; Levenstadt, Jeremy S; Chanda, Mona Lisa; Levitin, Daniel J; Mogil, Jeffrey S
Year of Publication: 2006
Journal: Science
Volume: 312
Issue: 5782
Pagination: 1967-70
Date Published: 2006 Jun 30
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1095-9203
Keywords: Altruism, Animals, Behavior, Animal, Cues, Empathy, Female, Formaldehyde, Hot Temperature, Male, Mice, pain, Pain Measurement, Social Behavior

Empathy is thought to be unique to higher primates, possibly to humans alone. We report the modulation of pain sensitivity in mice produced solely by exposure to their cagemates, but not to strangers, in pain. Mice tested in dyads and given an identical noxious stimulus displayed increased pain behaviors with statistically greater co-occurrence, effects dependent on visual observation. When familiar mice were given noxious stimuli of different intensities, their pain behavior was influenced by their neighbor's status bidirectionally. Finally, observation of a cagemate in pain altered pain sensitivity of an entirely different modality, suggesting that nociceptive mechanisms in general are sensitized.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1128322
Alternate Journal: Science
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