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Emotion in animals


Emotions in animals are the subjective feelings and emotions experienced by non-human animals. Emotions may be described as subjective, conscious experiences characterized primarily by psychophysiological expressions, biological reactions, and .

Charles Darwin was one of the first scientists to write about the existence and nature of emotions in animals. His observational and sometimes anecdotal approach has developed into a more robust, hypothesis-driven, scientific approach. General hypotheses relating to correlates between humans and animals also support the claim that animals may feel emotions and that human emotions evolved from the same mechanisms. Several tests, such as cognitive bias tests and learned helplessness models, have been developed. Cognitive biases (feelings of optimism or pessimism) have been shown in a wide range of species including rats, dogs, cats, rhesus macaques, sheep, chicks, starlings, pigs and honeybees.

Some behaviourists claim stimulus–response models provide a sufficient explanation for animal behaviours that have been described as emotional, and that it is unnecessary to postulate that animals are conscious. Other behaviourists further question whether animals feel emotions on the grounds that emotions aren't universal even among humans, that interpretations of animal behaviour are anthropomorphic, and that definitions of emotions lack robustness.

The word "emotion" dates back to 1579, when it was adapted from the French word émouvoir, which means "to stir up". However, the earliest precursors of the word likely date back to the very origins of language.

Emotions have been described as discrete and consistent responses to internal or external events which have a particular significance for the organism. Emotions are brief in duration and consist of a coordinated set of responses, which may include physiological, behavioural, and neural mechanisms. Emotions have also been described as the result of evolution because they provided good solutions to ancient and recurring problems that faced ancestors.



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