Monday, March 31, 2008

Being Kind And Helpful Is In Our Genes. It’s Called Being Altruistic

Are we wired to be kind and caring or are we all selfish creatures? Well, some interesting research answering this question was reported by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Discover Magazine. They used some semifree-ranging chimpanzees in their study. A chimp was struggling to open a door behind which was food. A second chimp could release the chain on the door so the first chimp could get the food even though the second chimp would not receive anything. Three-quarters of the time the chimps in a position to help did.

In a separate experiment, chimps helped get a stick for a human stranger that was struggling to reach it even if the chimp had to climb up a tall raceway to get the stick. In a third study, 18-month old human toddlers helped a stranger struggling to reach a pen in the same percentages as the chimps who helped the other chimp or the human.

So…it seems that deep down we’re wired with the desire to do good and to help others. Pretty cool!

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