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Human brains are hardwired for empathy, friendship, study shows
Date:8/22/2013

an said this likely is because humans need to have friends and allies who they can side with and see as being the same as themselves. And as people spend more time together, they become more similar.

"It's essentially a breakdown of self and other; our self comes to include the people we become close to," Coan said. "If a friend is under threat, it becomes the same as if we ourselves are under threat. We can understand the pain or difficulty they may be going through in the same way we understand our own pain."

This likely is the source of empathy, and part of the evolutionary process, Coan reasons.

"A threat to ourselves is a threat to our resources," he said. "Threats can take things away from us. But when we develop friendships, people we can trust and rely on who in essence become we, then our resources are expanded, we gain. Your goal becomes my goal. It's a part of our survivability." People need friends, Coan added, like "one hand needs another to clap."


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Contact: Fariss Samarrai
fls4f@virginia.edu
434-924-3778
University of Virginia
Source:Eurekalert

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