Although Dr Campbell doesn't think the chimps were "fooled" by the animations into thinking they were looking at real chimps, he explained that there was evidence that chimpanzees "process animated faces the same way they process photographs of faces".
He said: "It's not a real chimpanzee, but it kind of looks like a chimpanzee, and they're responding to that."....
In his future work, Dr Campbell would like to pin down exactly how these measurable behaviours are related to the more difficult to measure phenomenon of empathy.
"We'd like to know more about behaviours related to empathy, like consolation - when an individual does something nice to the victim of aggression," he told BBC News.
"So we want to see if our good contagious yawners are also good consolers."
Link via Discover Magazine
Image: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services