Marc Bekoff Quotes (Author of The Emotional Lives of Animals)
How Animal and Human Emotions Are Different
Arriving home to be greeted by a yipping dog bouncing off the walls and a purring cat cuddled up in bed can bring a strong sense that you're the star of the show and your pets are decidedly happy to see you. But are they really expressing happiness? And is that a freshly chewed-up shoe in the corner? What's up with that? A case of canine criticism? Animal emotion is a complicated arena, but it seems the scales are slowly tipping toward the opinion that animals do have emotions, although some skeptics remain.
The existence and nature of emotions in animals are believed to be correlated with those of humans and to have evolved from the same mechanisms. Charles Darwin was one of the first scientists to write about the subject, and his observational and sometimes anecdotal approach has since developed into a more robust, hypothesis-driven, scientific approach. Some behaviourists , such as John B. Watson , claim that stimulus—response models provide a sufficient explanation for animal behaviours that have been described as emotional, and that all behaviour, no matter how complex, can be reduced to a simple stimulus-response association. However, the earliest precursors of the word likely date back to the very origins of language.
However these feelings and emotions are expressed — whether with the wag of a tail or a smile, they come from the same basic "survival circuits" in the brain, which are the same in all mammals. In truth, researchers tend to fake their understanding of emotions , LeDoux said. These shaky definitions are problematic even when just studying emotions in humans who have 37 English words for feelings related to fear ; these problems are compounded when we try to study human emotions in animals. Instead of trying to compare animals and humans researchers should study the "survival circuits" behind behaviors. Studies in animals can find survival circuits universal to mammals , like fear and hunger. Many different animals have very similar survival circuitry: for example, the brain regions that tell an animal to run away from a threat are the same even if that animal runs on two legs, four legs or takes flight. The line between emotion and motivation is very thin: when you are in a emotional state you are motivated.
All rights reserved. The author of a new book also says that animals can feel empathy, like the humpback whale that rescued a seal. Do animals feel empathy? Does an elephant have consciousness? Can a dog plan ahead? These are some of the questions that award-winning environmental writer Carl Safina teases out in his new book, Beyond Words: How Animals Think and Feel.