Posts tagged empathy
Eric Edsinger is an octopus researcher at the University of Chicago who recently helped sequence the genome of Octopus bimaculoides—the California two-spot octopus. Like most octopuses, this color-changing cephalopod is asocial, meaning it likes to be alone most of the time, unless it’s trying to mate. But when given MDMA, a drug well known for boosting emotional empathy and prosocial behavior in humans (i.e. making you really, really want to fraternize), these octopuses also seemed to want to hang out with each other, even if they weren’t trying to find a mate.
At rest, our brains cycle between the social and analytical networks. But when presented with a task, healthy adults engage the appropriate neural pathway, the researchers found. The study shows for the first time that we have a built-in neural constraint on our ability to be both empathetic and analytic at the same time