Animal empathy: Testing rats with water and chocolate (VIDEO).

Researchers Tested a Rat’s Empathy by Giving It a Choice Between Chocolate and Saving a Drowning Friend

Researchers Tested a Rat’s Empathy by Giving It a Choice Between Chocolate and Saving a Drowning Friend

Slate in motion.
May 17 2015 7:57 AM

A Rat’s Dilemma

Researchers tested a rat’s empathy by giving it a choice: chocolate or a drowning friend.

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Screenshot via Slate.

Researchers created a box divided by a clear plastic partition—a pool of water on one side, a dry platform on the other. They then threw a piece of chocolate into the mix, to test if rats’ altruism was greater than their sweet tooth.

Jim Festante is an actor/writer in Los Angeles and regular video contributor to Slate. He is the author of the Image Comics miniseries The End Times of Bram and Ben.