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Animal Emotions & Empathy, Seminar with Dr. Frans de Waal

One of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people and Discover Magazine's all-time “Great Minds of Science," primatologist Dr. Frans de Waal will speak on the topic of "Animal Emotions and Empathy."

Dr. de Waal is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University where he directs the university’s Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, one of the world’s foremost centers for research on primate behavior.

Abstract: Emotions suffuse much of the language employed by students of animal behavior — from "social bonding" to "alarm calls" — yet are still regularly avoided as explicit topic in scientific discourse. Given the increasing interest of human psychology in the emotions, and the neuroscience on animal emotions such as fear and attachment, the taboo that has hampered animal research in this area is outdated. The main point is to separate emotions from feelings, which are the subjective experiences that accompany the emotions. Whereas science has no access to animal feelings, animal emotions are as observable and measurable (face, voice, physiology, neural activity) as human emotions. They are mental and bodily states that potentiate behavior appropriate to mostly social situations. I will discuss early ideas about animal emotions and draw upon research on empathy and the perception of emotions in primates to make the point that the study of animal emotions is a necessary complement to the study of behavior. Emotions are best viewed as the organizers of adaptive responses to environmental stimuli. 

**Dr. de Waal will sign books after the talk. His new book Mama's Last Hug will be available for sale, one month ahead of its official publication date.

Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Strong Hall, Auditorium 101
1621 West Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996

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Lectures & Presentations




Current Students, Faculty & Staff, General Public




Contact Name

Catherine Crawley

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