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The Nature of Empathy: Lecture by Frans de Waal

Primate Researcher to Give Public Talk at Freie Universität Berlin on April 11, 2011

№ 80/2011 from Mar 25, 2011

The well-known behavioral biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal will be giving a lecture at Freie Universität Berlin on April 11, 2011. In the lecture de Waal will show how empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans, as he has found through many years of studying social behaviors in animals. This contradicts the widely held assumption that humans are inherently selfish and behave morally only due to the influence of culture. The lecture is part of the Talking Emotion series at the Languages of Emotion Cluster of Excellence. The lecture will be given in English. It is open to the public, and there is no admission charge.

Frans de Waal was born in 1948 in the Netherlands and has been conducting research in the United States since the beginning of the 1980s. In many nonfiction books such as Our Inner Ape or Primates and Philosophers, de Waal has repeatedly drawn attention to cooperative behaviors among the closest relatives of humans. Besides the struggle for food and armed conflict over territory, bonding and cooperative living together in groups are innate to many animals, including humans. His most recent book, The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society, was published in 2009.

Time and Place:

  • Frans de Waal: Empathy and Emotional Communication: Primate Origins
  • Monday, April 11, 2011, 6:15 p.m.
  • Lecture Hall 2, Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin
    subway station: Dahlem-Dorf or Thielplatz (U3)

Queries and Interview Requests:

Dr. Nina Diezemann, Languages of Emotion Cluster, Science Communication
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-57864, Email: