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Do Birds Have emotions ???


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3 replies to this topic

#1 nightingale

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:13 AM

Hello All,

i always wondered if birds have emotions or not ...
i think they do ...
But,
here is an article : http://chronicle.com...otions-/131761/

any of you have access to it ???

would be great knowing if they do have or not! Posted Image
" The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know ... "

#2 bob1

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:20 PM

The problem with this sort of thing is defining what you mean by emotions and being extremely careful not to anthropomorphise... it is well known that a dog that is in pain will still wag its tail, and that a cat in a similar state will still purr - things we associate with happiness in the respective animals.

Personally, I am pretty sure animals have emotions, afterall, we are animals too, so there is no reason why other animals shouldn't have emotions. Think about Chimpanzees, closely related to us and show strong family bonds, express anger, fear, etc. in well defined ways, but still thought of as animals... if they have emotions, what about other primates...?

#3 pito

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 12:27 AM

The problem with this sort of thing is defining what you mean by emotions and being extremely careful not to anthropomorphise... it is well known that a dog that is in pain will still wag its tail, and that a cat in a similar state will still purr - things we associate with happiness in the respective animals.

Personally, I am pretty sure animals have emotions, afterall, we are animals too, so there is no reason why other animals shouldn't have emotions. Think about Chimpanzees, closely related to us and show strong family bonds, express anger, fear, etc. in well defined ways, but still thought of as animals... if they have emotions, what about other primates...?


An important aspect in the field of emotions relating to animals is that often they are "forced" to still exhibit "happy" or "normal" behavior because they are prey-animals or because of the need of attention.
Eg. for prey animals: a rabbit in stress/lots of pain will hardly show this.. It will hide this pain and discomfort. Its a survival mechanism.
Eg. for dogs/cats moving their tail, looking happy even if they are injured: again, its the sort of behavior that gives them attention and possible the attention they need.
+ we also dont know how they feel pain related to how we do. Maybe they "heal" faster or have less pain if you dont touch the injury. Its known that dogs can "stop" using a leg in order to "remove" the pain in it.. or lessen the pain.

But I think its clear that animals do have emotions and do have a memory that links emotions with certain things that happened.
Altough,its indeed difficult to state what these emotions are.. its not like how we, humans, see/feel emotions.


Also, and this is often forgotten because we are humans and we often think that a "higher force" is there to "give" us certain "things" (that other animals dont have), is the fact that emotions are nothing more then a chemical proces in our brain.
Animals also have these chemicals or related chemicals and they also use these chemicals.. The question is whether they are evolved like us and also link those chemicals with the same things that we do..
Think about giving birth to a child: for females this is something "magical" and for the father its also (normally) one of the best things in life and we see this child as our own blood and we will do anything to help the child..
Now in animals this is different: they have kids to survive as a specie and often they dont even "care" about the kids.. (depending on the animal).
So you see a clear difference in how "emotions" (feelings) work in that field.

(but even in humans there is a big difference in what kind of emotions will go through a person when getting a child.. our emotions in this particular field depend on the region where we are born, where we live, etc... the status of the country etc.... this is proving that other mechanisms are also involved and influencing our "emotions" (chemical processes)).

About the article: I cant acces it, but I suppose it concludes birds have emotions. Its not the first article published that states this.
If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#4 hobglobin

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 07:28 AM

And some other thoughts about this topic:

Pain and stress you can measure indirectly by e.g. stress hormones levels or today by changing gene expressions or brain activity over magnetoencephalography or whatever imaging method. With electrodes at certain points of the brain you can even induce some easier feelings (pain, hunger,...)...so I agree that animals have kind of emotions induced by the same chemicals and mechanisms as in humans. It depends on behavioural needs and from this different brain complexness if there are a few or many of them (the chemicals also need sufficient receptors to induce something more complex). Social animals surely have much more (and usually more complex brains) than non-social animals, as emotions are part of tools that regulate and control cohabitation of the group of animals.

IMO the important point is the consciousness/awareness of the animal...e.g. if they have something like a rating system and standards as we have, and a consciousness that makes them aware of feelings, or even can suppress or increase emotions. Or that tells them, that something is "good" or "bad". E.g. feeling cold is bad and humans then wish and think about a nice warm room and a hot coffee then...an overwintering animal won't do this, I think. It just senses cold temperature, fluffs the feathers up (if it's a bird) and that's it. It is not suffering. Or an animal is tortured by someone, it will feel pain (as a general indication that it is hurt at a body part), but will it feel bad and starts whining like us? Or starts to hate the torturer? I don't think so.
From many examples people think they react like us and have deep emotions, but often you can explain it with instinct and useful behaviour (especially affection to people, that also just can be the same "emotion" that keeps a pack of dogs together. And a dog knows that its behaviour of showing external "affection" and "happiness" will result in a warm place and regular food supply Posted Image . But is the dog's brain really having happy feelings?). Ants and bees defend their queen with their life, many animals also their offspring, but it helps to survive the hive and the queen, or to have a successful reproduction. No love involved.
So my guess is that there are kind of emotions (social animals more than loners), but quite reduced compared to humans, and only emotions that are useful and help the animals to survive. Really complex emotions like love, hate, sadness, desperation, etc. IMO are emotions that only humans have, an advantage or disadvantage of a extremely complex brain and social system and sufficient energy and time to be able to afford such feelings Posted Image . Or more biological explained, humans started at a similar point, i.e. emotions as tools of social interaction, but emotions evolved and become more complex with cultural evolution.

Anyway just thoughts and we'll never really know....perhaps it's all the same but we perceive it just a bit different compared to animals...Posted Image

Edited by hobglobin, 11 May 2012 - 08:40 AM.

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.




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