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'“Empathy” is an innate, fundamental phenomenon that confers powerful evolutionary advantage.
  • Empathy-motivated relationships increase individuals’ reproductive success (Seyfarth & Cheney, 2012) and 
  • decrease mortality (Holt-Lunstad, Smith, & Layton, 2010), 
  • which might be related to observations that empathy inhibits aggression, 
  • motivates cooperation, and 
  • facilitates moral principles (De Waal, 2008; Eisenberg & Morris, 2001). 
  • Decisions and actions based on empathy are posited to be responsible for the evolution of humans’ advanced cognitive abilities (Burkart et al., 2014; De Waal, 2008). "

Benefits of empathy
  • + reproductive success 
  • - mortality
  • - aggression
  • + motivates cooperation,
  • + moral principles 
  • cognitive abilities

Seyfarth, R. M., & Cheney, D. L. (2012)The evolutionary origins of friendshipAnnual Review of Psychology63153177.

Holt-Lunstad, J.Smith, T. B., & Layton, J. B. (2010). Social relationships and mortality risk: A meta-analytic reviewPLoS Medicine7e1000316.

De Waal, F. B. (2008). Putting the altruism back into altruism: The evolution of empathyAnnual Review of Psychology59279300.

Eisenberg, N., & Morris, A. S. (2001). The origins and social significance of empathy-related responding. A review of empathy and moral development: Implications for caring and justice by M. L. HoffmanSocial Justice Research1495120.

Burkart, J.Allon, O.Amici, F.Fichtel, C.Finkenwirth, C.Heschl, A., … Martins, E.(2014). The evolutionary origin of human hyper-cooperationNature Communications5.
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