Social modulation of pain as evidence for empathy in mice.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Langford, DJ; Crager, SE; Shehzad, Z; Smith, SB; Sotocinal, SG; Levenstadt, JS; Chanda, ML; Levitin, DJ; Mogil, JS

Published Date

  • June 30, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 312 / 5782

Start / End Page

  • 1967 - 1970

PubMed ID

  • 16809545

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1128322


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States