F.B.M. De Waalps-2
In my own work with monkeys and apes, I have often seen how one individual comes to another's rescue, puts an arm around a victim that has been attacked, or makes other emotional responses to the distress of others. We are familiar with the role that emotions play in human facial expressions, but when it comes to apes - which have a similar array of expressions - emotions remain undervalued and understudied.
I will discuss the evolution of empathy, treating it as a multi-layered phenomenon, and I will trace it from its simplest beginnings all the way to the higher levels that we humans achieve. All mammals show emotional contagion, but a few large-brained mammals are capable of identifying with someone else's perspective, becoming emotionally involved and acting altruistically.