The Evolution of Connectivity – March 10th

Tuesday, March 10th at 7:30 p.m. in 182 Lillis Hall  

bonobo-and-atheistPrimatologist Frans de Waal will share his research findings on socially-positive behaviors in animals and humans in his lecture,“The Evolution of Connectivity: Empathy, Altruism, and Primate Social Skills,” on Tuesday, March 10th at 7:30 p.m. in 182 Lillis Hall on the UO campus.

Until fairly recently, it has been assumed that the behaviors that form the basis for human moral systems such as cooperation, altruism, sympathy and empathy, fairness, reconciliation—generally, those positive traits that foster connectivity—were distinctly human qualities. But de Waal, who has been studying primates and other non-human mammals for more than 40 SONY DSCyears, asserts that animals share many of these characteristics with us. Humans have long assumed that morality comes from religion or civilization or tradition. De Waal asks, “What if it is biological?”

He notes, “To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental, about both animals and us.” He adds, “The evidence is overwhelming that we are not the only species to value a well-integrated society, and like us, many other species seek this integration as a survival strategy: they do better together than alone.”

Frans de Waal is C. H. Candler Professor in the Psychology Department of Emory University, and Director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Center in Atlanta, GA. His popular books have made him one of the world’s most visible primatologists. His latest books are The Age of Empathy (2009) and The Bonobo and the Atheist (2013).

The lecture is presented by the Oregon Humanities Center. It is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a book sale and signing. For information, or for disability accommodations (which must be made by Mar. 3, 2015), contact or (541) 346-3934.



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