Term of Award

Spring 2008

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Janie Wilson

Committee Member 1

Lawrence Locker

Committee Member 2

Rebecca Ryan


Empathetic behaviors are characterized by a three-tiered hierarchical organization involving arousal, emotional contagion, and cognitive empathy. In the current study, we define each step in this hierarchy in order to build toward a paradigm that represents true cognitive empathy. We then examine the levels of empathy displayed by rats in previous paradigms and classify prior studies by level of arousal, emotional contagion, or cognitive empathy. Finally, we present two studies which examine the potential for empathetic display in rats.

Research Data and Supplementary Material