Results: Survey on Emotions in Animals

sheep backlit fall 2011

THANKS to you all for contributing to the survey! I'll give you the results of the blog survey first and then compare them on the right with a survey done at the Madison Seminar (thanks!) and with research done by Morris et. al. in 2008 (Cognition & Emotion 22(1), 3-20). First, emotions and dogs (of course!) CAN DOGS EXPERIENCE THE FOLLOWING EMOTIONS? EMOTION   BLOG YES                SEMINAR YES                      MORRIS 2008 YES FEAR                   100%                               100%                                       93% JOY                       100%                              99.5%                                      99% ANGER                85.7%                             95.1%                                       65% DISGUST            Read More

What Emotions Do You Share with Your Dog?

Tootsie to snow lst 2011

Surely you'd agree that both you and your dog can be frightened, but what about feeling jealous? Guilty? Ashamed? Ah, now it gets trickier, doesn't it? Emotions like jealousy and guilt are called "secondary" emotions, and many biologists, psychologists and philosophers believe that non-human animals can't experience them. The argument is that they can't be experienced without a relatively high level of cognition, particularly the ability to be self aware and knowledgeable about the mental state of others. I'll talk in the next post about research related to whether dogs feel guilt or jealousy, but for now, I'd like to replicate another piece of research that asked people what emotions they think animals experience. [If you came to the Madison Seminar, no fair answering after you saw the Read More

Secondary Emotions in Animals

I'm working on an article for The APDT Chronicle on what are called "secondary emotions" in non-human animals. I have an article in the latest issue (May/June 2009) about "primary emotions" like fear and anger, and am following up with a smaller one about emotions like jealousy, guilt and empathy. I guess it's obvious from my last big book, For the Love of a Dog, that I'm fascinated by the topic of emotions in other animals, and equally fascinated by our perception of them. Almost by definition, primary emotions are accepted as occurring in a wide variety of species; and yet, I've had numerous people disagree with the concept that animals can experience some of them, with the most concern about attributing anger to non-humans. (As I've written earlier, anger is an extremely primitive, Read More