Sai Emrys wrote: > On Nov 14, 2007 9:41 PM, Herman Miller <[log in to unmask]> wrote: >> and their sensitivity to others' emotions is more finely developed. > > Why? > > (I've been reading up on neuroscience of empathy recently in prep for > grad school, so you hit my subject-of-the-month. :-P) Why are bluebirds blue? I'm sure there must ultimately be a cause, but I haven't considered it. It's just one of those facts about their biology; they can see ultraviolet light (but not red), they eat insects, they have three fingers and a thumb on each hand, their eyes are large. I could come up with a reason (e.g., their eyes are so large because their ancestors lived in caves), but I don't know anything much about neuroscience. Their heightened sense of empathy has been one of their defining features from the start, even before I started thinking about their languages and their music. Is there anything about cave-dwelling that could be relevant? Their ancestors made their homes in caves to protect themselves from dragons. Perhaps the need to keep quiet while dragons were nearby encouraged the development of silent means of communication. Sangari, their nearest relatives, living without the threat of dragons, never developed this ability as fully.