Hug Power

After a bad experience, the best thing you can do is get a big comforting hug from someone who?s close to you. Chimps do it, so we can too.

Researcher Orlaith Fraser Fraser and his team observed 22 adult chimps at a UK zoo for 18 months. They paid special attention to what happened after the animals had an argument and noticed that about half the time, the loser would be consoled by another member of the group.

In BBC News, Jonathan Amos quotes Fraser as saying, “If these chimpanzees are actually motivated by empathy to console victims of aggression, they must first of all be able to recognize that the victim is distressed and then they must know what to do in order to act appropriately to respond to this distress. This is something often thought to be a unique trait to humans, so understanding the link between consolation and stress reduction in chimpanzees is an important step towards understanding whether or not chimpanzees are capable of this level of empathy.”

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