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15 Scientific Facts That Will Warm Your Cold, Dead, Heart

The world’s pretty alright sometimes.

Posted on July 23, 2015, at 3:50 p.m. ET

1. Chimps will lend a helping hand to humans even if they get no reward for doing so.

Helping someone unrelated to you for no personal benefit was long thought to be a distinctly human trait. Chimps have shown that not to be the case. In experiments, chimps will help both unrelated chimps AND humans reach an object out of the other individual's grasp when no reward is offered.
Matthew Hoelscher / Via en.wikipedia.org

Helping someone unrelated to you for no personal benefit was long thought to be a distinctly human trait. Chimps have shown that not to be the case. In experiments, chimps will help both unrelated chimps AND humans reach an object out of the other individual's grasp when no reward is offered.

2. Calming music makes people more generous toward each other.

Via giphy.com

In one experiment, researchers showed that people who had recently listened to music they personally enjoyed were more likely to give money to others in a game-based simulation.

3. Doing unselfish deeds activates the same primal regions of the brain that make it so fun to have sex and eat food.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Via giphy.com

This is surprising, as many researchers had assumed that such behavior comes from the higher regions of the brain responsible for more complex cognitive functions.

4. NASA has developed a "robonaut" to help astronauts on the International Space Station.

This robonaut will do mundane "housekeeping" tasks around the station and also perform high-risk spacewalks that humans can not perform.
NASA

This robonaut will do mundane "housekeeping" tasks around the station and also perform high-risk spacewalks that humans can not perform.

5. Scientists once created special cat music to show that cats actually enjoy getting their groove on.

Cats Paradise / Via youtube.com

The researchers wanted to prove that cats like music, but only if it was the ~right~ music. In their experiment, the right music was composed of sounds "within the frequency range and with similar tempos to those used in natural communication [between cats]."

6. Escaped pet birds that mimic human noises and words often teach these sounds to other wild birds.

These sounds can even be passed down through generations, according to Australian Geographic.
Ted / Via ted.com

These sounds can even be passed down through generations, according to Australian Geographic.

7. Music can help severely brain-damaged patients recall lost personal memories.

Scientists have tested this on individuals suffering from brain damage by playing them all 50 No. 1 songs of the year from 1960 to 2010. In almost all cases, some previously lost memories came back to the participants.
Bestdesigns / Getty Images

Scientists have tested this on individuals suffering from brain damage by playing them all 50 No. 1 songs of the year from 1960 to 2010. In almost all cases, some previously lost memories came back to the participants.

8. Walruses and seals often raise orphan pups that are not their own.

euronews / Via youtube.com

Sometimes, it takes a walrus village.

9. The awe felt by people touched by the beauty of nature, art, and spirituality has a direct and positive effect on the immune system.

Universal Pictures

Scientists have found that people who experience awe often have a reduction in immune system chemicals called "proinflammatory cytokines." Typically, large amounts of these chemicals imply poor health.

10. Dogs and humans have been pals for more than 27,000 years.

Via giphy.com

Evidence of some level of domestication goes back a really long time.

11. Rats will free their friends from cages in a laboratory setting without any reward or personal benefit.

NPG / Via nature.com

The experiment placed two rats in a cage, with one of the rats trapped in a smaller cage. Without any personal benefit, the other rat almost always rescued its fellow rat.

12. They will also try to save their fellow rats from drowning.

Andy Savage / Via youtube.com

In one experiment, "rats quickly learned to liberate a soaked cagemate from [a] water area by opening the door to allow the trapped rat into a safe area."

13. Infants are more likely to create memories when they interact with a happy-sounding or -looking person.

In one experiment, infants showed a preference for objects given to them by a happy–sounding or –looking person compared to an object given by a neutral–sounding or –looking person five minutes after the fact, even if an object was given to them by a person with a neutral face more recently.
Jaren Wilkey / BYU / Via news.byu.edu

In one experiment, infants showed a preference for objects given to them by a happy–sounding or –looking person compared to an object given by a neutral–sounding or –looking person five minutes after the fact, even if an object was given to them by a person with a neutral face more recently.

14. Dogs can totally tell the difference between a happy human face and a sad human face.

Look at that happy dog scientist up there!
Anjuli Barber / Messerli Research Institute / Via eurekalert.org

Look at that happy dog scientist up there!

15. And, of course, happiness really might be contagious.

Via proud-to-be-pure-evil.tumblr.com

A massive and long-term study looked at the social networks (IRL, not on the interwebz) of nearly 5,000 people for 20 years. The researchers found that people's happiness generally depended on the happiness of people in their close circles.

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