Sunday, October 2, 2011

The emotions of animals

Hello, do you have an opinion about whether or not animals experience emotions? Many pet owners will say that animals do have feelings, but many scientists disagree, saying that ascribing human characteristics to the nonhuman is anthropomorphism.

I don't know, I have pets, and it's pretty clear to me that they can feel, and strongly. I have witnessed what seems to be clear happiness (bright eyes, wagging tails, purring etc), anger (hissing, baring teeth, growling, flicking tails), sadness (mopping around directly after a tragic loss such as the death of another pet in the household) and other emotions in cats, dogs, and other animals.

To read an interesting exploration of this topic, I checked a book out in the library called, When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals, by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy. The book discusses both points of view and displays several interesting cases of observed animals such as Siri, an elephant who sketches, to Koko, a gorilla who can do sign language and loves to play with dolls--when alone. There are many other animals and their stories described as well. It's an interesting book. If you love animals, you'd probably like this book.

1 comment :

CBM said...

I love your blog and the content.