According to a study undertaken by a researcher from Washington State University, clues to human emotions can be revealed through the emotions of rats and mice. Understanding the mental infrastructure that functions behind the emotions of these creatures can unravel the mystery of human humans. Some of the major emotions that can be understood are that of love, care and nurturing. During the study, researchers found that rats helped each other even when they had nothing to gain in return. This suggests some emotions of nurturing are at play. The finding is in direct contrast to the common belief that animals or nonhuman creatures cannot feel such emotions.
Empathy is the major emotion in question. The lead researcher of the study says that understanding the simple neural models in animals that influence their feelings can be an effective guide towards understanding the so far mysterious human emotions. Advancements in the field of neural science make this possible. The lead researcher of the study is Prof. Jaak Panksepp.
Panksepp said that all animals have complex feelings that are akin to human feelings. In fact, all creatures on the earth share the same basic brain network and hence, the existence of similar feelings in not surprising. Although science has proved existence of feelings, it has not been able understand that depth and intensity of animal feelings. He said that since humans’ ability to think and analyze are higher than any other creature, the way humans handle and use emotions are more varied and complex when compared to other creatures. Empathy is one of the many feelings that has played a major role all through the history of mankind. However, the recent times have put a huge question mark on humans’ ability to empathize. The professor said that maternal care and better social conditions are necessary in order for empathy to continue in the coming generations.
As creatures evolve, new layers of networking are added to the brain and the deeper and the most ancient feelings that helped evolution are buried inside. These emotions that lie in the core layer of the brain are similar in all creatures, whether human or non human. Humans have a far more developed brain than any other creature. The capacity of the humans to perceive is definitely superior to any other creature in the world. Nevertheless, basic feelings like empathy are better developed in creatures that have bigger brains but these primitive feelings are not buried under the overlying layers of epidural matter. Neural science has helped in understanding these emotions and provides clues to human emotions as well.