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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Do Elephants Show Empathy?
Author(s): Bates, Lucy A
Lee, Phyllis C
Njiraini, Norah
Poole, Joyce H
Sayialel, Katito
Moss, Cynthia J
Byrne, Richard W
Keywords: Elephants
Social behavior in animals.
Emotions in animals
Issue Date: 2008
Date Deposited: 16-Mar-2009
Citation: Bates LA, Lee PC, Njiraini N, Poole JH, Sayialel K, Moss CJ & Byrne RW (2008) Do Elephants Show Empathy?. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 15 (10-11), pp. 204-225.
Abstract: Elephants show a rich social organization and display a number of unusual traits. In this paper, we analyse reports collected over a thirty-five year period, describing behaviour that has the potential to reveal signs of empathic understanding. These include coalition formation, the offering of protection and comfort to others, retrieving and ‘babysitting’ calves, aiding individuals that would otherwise have difficulty in moving, and removing foreign objects attached to others. These records demonstrate that an elephant is capable of diagnosing animacy and goal directedness, and is able to understand the physical competence, emotional state and intentions of others, when they differ from its own. We argue that an empathic understanding of others is the simplest explanation of these abilities, and discuss reasons why elephants appear to show empathy more than other non-primate species.
Rights: Published by Imprint Academic. Publisher has granted permission for use of this item in this repository.

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