Affiliative Behavior and Empathetic Response: Sex Differences and Neuroendocrine Factors

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Affiliative Behavior and Empathetic Response: Sex Differences and Neuroendocrine Factors

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Title: Affiliative Behavior and Empathetic Response: Sex Differences and Neuroendocrine Factors
Author: Mutso, Amelia
Advisor: Sternberg, Wendy
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Psychology
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Running Time: 258143 bytes16179 bytes
Issue Date: 2008
Abstract: This study investigated the ability of mice to distinguish the emotional state of other mice as an indication of empathetic behavior. The ability to distinguish emotional states was examined by using an overt pain stimulus on a mouse and measuring subsequent approach behavior by another mouse to the mouse in pain. This was used as a model for the affiliation and empathy of one mouse for another, presenting a novel paradigm for measuring affiliation and empathetic approach behavior towards another animal. The ability to identify the pain state of another mouse was examined in both female and male mice. It was found that female mice were better able than males to identify the pain state of another mouse, and, therefore spent significantly more time in proximity to the cagemate in pain than with an unaffected cagemate. Approach behavior in males was not affected by the pain state of another mouse. Since the hormone oxytocin has been shown to play a role in affiliation, its role in the ability to identify emotional states was investigated through a pharmacological manipulation in female mice where female mice were injected with oxytocin. The data from the oxytocin manipulation were inconclusive but suggested further work is necessary to investigate the role of this hormone in empathetic behavior in mice. Future research can use this novel paradigm to further investigate sex differences in empathetic behavior and the role of affiliative hormones in empathetic responses.
Subject: Empathy -- Sex differences
Subject: Affiliation (Psychology)
Subject: Pain -- Physiological aspects
Terms of Use: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10066/1415

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Mutso, Amelia. "Affiliative Behavior and Empathetic Response: Sex Differences and Neuroendocrine Factors". 2008. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/10066/1415.

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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/ Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/