Rats

December 9th, 2011

Inspired by Rats model empathy by helping, sharing (Washington Post 12/09/11 page A2) and the Science Magazine report it summarizes.

 

“The free rat, occasionally hearing distress calls from its compatriot, learned to open the cage and did so with greater efficiency over time. It would release the other animal even if there wasn’t the payoff of a reunion with it. Astonishingly, if given access to a small hoard of chocolate chips, the free rat would usually save at least one treat for the captive — which is a lot to expect of a rat.” — WashingtonPost article about rat empathy
 
“There is nothing in it for them except for whatever feeling they get from helping another individual.” — U Chicago neurobiologist Peggy Mason

 

I have, in the past, called the occasional Republican a rat,

And now I’d like to apologize for that.

 

My apology is to the rats rather than to the GOP,

Since it turns out the former do feel empathy.

 

Rats go out of their way to help their rat sisters and brothers,

While most Republicans don’t seem to care about others.

 

The experiment tested whether a rat would go out of his way to help another rat in distress

Which most of the rats did, even demonstrating uncharacteristic largesse.

 

The free rat willingly saved some of his rat treats for the less fortunate one,

Something that in Republican ranks just isn’t done.

 

(The average treat-sharing rate was 1.5 out of 5 treats,

Which the actual tax rate of many billionaires beats.)

 

It’s almost Christmas, my GOP friends, so if for no other reason,

Please try to be more ratlike this holiday season.

***

Here’s a video clip from the experiment.

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