Consolation in the aftermath of robberies resembles post-aggression consolation in chimpanzees

Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard, Lasse Suonperä Liebst, Wim Bernasco, Marie Bruvik Heinskou, Richard Philpot, Mark Levine, Peter Verbeek

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Post-aggression consolation is assumed to occur in humans as well as in chimpanzees. While consolation following peer aggression has been observed in children, systematic evidence of consolation in human adults is rare. We used surveillance camera footage of the immediate aftermath of nonfatal robberies to observe the behaviors and characteristics of victims and bystanders. Consistent with empathy explanations, we found that consolation was linked to social closeness rather than physical closeness. While females were more likely to console than males, males and females were equally likely to be consoled. Furthermore, we show that high levels of threat during the robbery increased the likelihood of receiving consolation afterwards. These patterns resemble post-aggression consolation in chimpanzees and suggest that emotions of empathic concern are involved in consolation across humans and chimpanzees.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0177725
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


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