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NavajoEverclear

Animal Emotion

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Which animals have what could be considered to possess emotional faculties?

I know there's probably no clear line between what can definitavely be called emotion, and what is simply instinctual impulse, but give me the best answer you can come up with. All i can figure with my pathetically limited knowledge is mammals, and some birds. I guess squids must have emotions cause i heard they are hella smart. Which brings me to another question--- are emotions a sign of being advanced, or of being primitive? they come from a more primitive part of the brain, but it appears that emotions only appear in higher intelligence species. Which brings another question, in the future of evolution will emotions be eliminated? I personally think they will be refined, and become more blended with the logical parts of the brain, but not dissappear. It seems in some situations emotions can work quicker than logic, which is a definate benefit. You might feel that something is going on before you know what is going on, and you can react sooner. It can also go the other way that you act before thinking, but it depends.

 

I apologize my the end of my idiotic ramblings you aren't sure what question i asked, so just give whatever input ya can. thanks

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The problem is that, without a testable definition of "emotion" that lacks all these annoying grey areas, there's no real way to tell.

 

Is hunger an emotion? What about lust? Both are just hormone-based responses. Is my lust homologous to the lust a beetle feels? What about something more complex, like feelings of accomplishment? How, exactly can you test for that?

 

I mean, we can be pretty sure sponges lack emotion, since they don't even have nerves, and that we do have emotion, since we made the term up. Beyond that, we're pretty much just guessing until someone comes up with a testable definition of "emotion".

 

Mokele

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Accomplishment is a strange emotion. Since humans evolved using tools and accomplishing hard tasks that can take more than a few days, it seems like we would need a feeling to reinforce are justification of spending so much time on one task. Like, a feeling of pride and accomplishment after drying a wooden stave for over a year and finally making it into a worthwhile bow.

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I think animals have emotions. Emotions are chemical processes. Other chemicals can be used to control and trigger emotions (like euphoria). These emotional processes evolved before we were humans (look at great apes who exhibit anger and fear for example). It seems like they are widespread in most mammals. I don't think anyone who's ever had a pet mammal would dispute that they have emotions.

 

The problem is that people confound emotion and thought in humans and then think it's not possible for animals to have emotions because they don't think at the level we do. Thoughts can cause emotion but they aren't the same thing.

 

I believe the idea of primitive and advanced evolution is outmoded. Evolution isn't trying to create advanced organisms. Very basic life is just as evolved as we humans are. That said, it seems emotion is only present with more "complex" life.

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thanks for the input. thinking about emotions as only hormones (which i guess they are) would actually reverse the scale of who has the most powerful emotions. While human emotion may be more complex, i would say a beetle, being more simple, has more complete and thus drastically stronger emotions by that definition.

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Here's another way to look at it:

 

I would say emotion exists in creatures with the ability to reason, all other creatures are given instict. Emotion is the product of animal instinct in a more evolved brain. It's how a creature that can reason can explain some of it's own irrational tendancies.

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I think any animal with nervous tissue and a brain or pseudo-brain could be considered to have emotions. Fear is a good example of a complex emotion that most animals seem capable of feeling. Have you ever seen the butterflies, like a monarch, that display warning camouflage because they're poisonous and taste foul? If a young bird eats that butterfly once, they associate the color pattern with the taste and learn to fear it - and, thus learn to fear and dislike that taste and avoid eating anything with that coloration pattern.

 

I think in terms of intelligent mammals, a most complex emotion is embarrassment. Why do we feel embarrassment, or shame? It's an emotion based solely on what we think other people think of us - one that, I assume, evolved purely in a social context. I know dogs can feel shame as well; Lord knows I've seen the expression on a dog's face after they've done something wrong, like had an accident or destroyed something. This may be an emotion solely restricted to social animals (I can't see a monitor lizard feeling shame, for example, regardless of its intelligence).

 

To talk about emotion, I suppose you must put a specific motion in context for there to be any headway.

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I think any animal with nervous tissue and a brain or pseudo-brain could be considered to have emotions. Fear is a good example of a complex emotion that most animals seem capable of feeling. Have you ever seen the butterflies, like a monarch, that display warning camouflage because they're poisonous and taste foul? If a young bird eats that butterfly once, they associate the color pattern with the taste and learn to fear it - and, thus learn to fear and dislike that taste and avoid eating anything with that coloration pattern.

 

I've never understood how protective coloration developed. It did that particular animal no good at all - it got eaten. I guess its sucess depends on a mutation that would occur simultaneously in all offspring. There would have to be survivors of the same coloration and taste. I've never heard whether mutations happen like that in insects. Are all the eggs laid by a monarch identical to each other?

 

 

I think in terms of intelligent mammals' date=' a most complex emotion is embarrassment. Why do we feel embarrassment, or shame? It's an emotion based solely on what we think other people think of us - one that, I assume, evolved purely in a social context. I know dogs can feel shame as well; Lord knows I've seen the expression on a dog's face after they've done something wrong, like had an accident or destroyed something. This may be an emotion solely restricted to social animals (I can't see a monitor lizard feeling shame, for example, regardless of its intelligence).

 

To talk about emotion, I suppose you must put a specific motion in context for there to be any headway.[/quote']

 

Cats become embarrassed if they do something stupid and you laugh at them. I had a cat that decided to make a flying leap to my dresser, which had a scarf on it. Cat landed on scarf, which slid along the dresser and off the other side - cat landed on floor in a heap. It wasn't hurt, but when we laughed at it, it turned its back on us and started to wash itself industriously.

 

When we called it, it wouldn't come. It took a day or so before we were in its good graces again.

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Which animals have what could be considered to possess emotional faculties?

 

if you meant irritability, all living organisms, if you meant emotion as something mmm mental. then all the animals with brain.

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I've never understood how protective coloration developed. It did that particular animal no good at all - it got eaten. I guess its sucess depends on a mutation that would occur simultaneously in all offspring. There would have to be survivors of the same coloration and taste. I've never heard whether mutations happen like that in insects. Are all the eggs laid by a monarch identical to each other?

 

Well, in most cases, the animal isn't instantly killed and eaten. For instance, take nudibranchs, which are often very brightly colored. They have numerous circae (finger-like projections) all over their backs, in which they sequester the stinging cells (nematocytes) of the corals and hydrozoans they feed on. Thus, when a predator attacks them, they get stung. This causes the predator to bugger off, and the nudibranch lives to breed another day. It might be injured, but injured is better than dead. Over time, predators learn or develop an instinctual aversion or both.

 

Also, it can benefit kin. If a predator kills you, but in the process learns to avoid your kids (while otherwise they'd be killed too, eventually), you've come out ahead in evolutionary terms even though you died.

 

Another important thing to remember is that most animals have numerous predators. Warning coloration might not save an individual beetle from a hungry gecko (though, again, it might aid it's kin), but if that beetle species is also preyed upon by praying mantids who *do* release the beetle without killing it, the trait will spread, simply because individuals with bright colors have only one predator (geckoes), while those without have two (geckoes and mantids). In fact, it could even spread if it makes them *more* likely to be killed by geckos, if the advantage in not being mantis-food is high enough to counterbalance this drawback.

 

Mokele

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Using the most basic definition of emotion as affective-motivational state, then any animal that has the capacity to respond to environmental stimuli a way consonant with those states can be considered to posess emotional faculties.

 

To expand a little, any animal that possesses the capacity for an orientation approach/avoidance response that is not 'hard wired' can be considered to posess emotional faculties. For example, an ant will orient to, and be driven to approach/avoid particular stimuli, but the response is hard wired and the ant cannot override it. However, in any animal that can override the basic drive, i.e. not act upon it, the behaviour may not happen, but the drive remains. This can be considered basic emotion.

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