Sci-fi movies ponder questions like, “Are robots capable of human emotion?” Um, we don’t know. But a recent German study found that humans are capable of feeling emotion toward robots. Participants watched videos of a human, a robot or an inanimate object being treated either affectionately or violently. Brain imaging revealed that they responded the same way to the robots as to other people (though they were a bit more empathetic toward the abused humans). Until the rise of the machines becomes a reality, harness your empathy as a way to connect with others and feel all-around happier.

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