Author Topic: Do animals "think"  (Read 14143 times)

Offline Shiranu

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #180 on: July 30, 2017, 12:50:56 AM »
Sorry for your lose, aitm :(.

Quote
A disturbing thought for us dog lovers that even those we trust as "family", when pissed are a little more deadly that we are...weapons aside.

Forget dog lovers, this is true for humans just as much as it is dogs. Statistically, it might actually be more true for humans...
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..." - Nelson Mandela

"Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be." - Miguel de Cervantes

Offline Cavebear

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #181 on: July 30, 2017, 01:16:52 AM »
I am going to call bullshit on this one for several reasons:
-Animals DO have vocal language. Some languages are quite complex.
-Animals (including humans) communicate through non-vocal means, also complex.
-Animals teach their young and learn from peers, it's well documented.
-Behavior is a very big driver in natural selection.

I'm with Mermaid on this.  Animals have very distinct vocal messages.  It isn't exactly Shakespeare, but they make sounds that are understood by others.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #182 on: September 24, 2017, 10:29:08 PM »
It depends on the animal. And some are closer to adult human thinking capabilities than others. Even children have limited thinking capacity. Below a certain age, they literally have no episodic memory. To be brief, episodic memories are what we typically conceive memories as being. It's a when the brain replays events in your head to the best of its ability (which is very flawed, BTW). In contrast, there is also semantic memory, which is basically just a collection of facts. Toddlers might remember that throwing a toy on the floor will result in someone picking it up and returning it to you (a child's version of playing fetch with the adults), but they will not have any specific memories of times when this trick has actually worked. I suspect most mammals have semantic memory, but lack episodic memory. Some animals have an impressive amount of brain power, however. I'm sure most of you are familiar with Koko, the gorilla who learned to speak sign language. Koko, while not as intelligent as an adult human, was definitely capable of thought. This shouldn't really be a surprise, though, given they are somewhat close relatives of ours.
"Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness." - Alejandro Jodorowsky

Offline Cavebear

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #183 on: September 28, 2017, 04:44:19 AM »
It depends on the animal. And some are closer to adult human thinking capabilities than others. Even children have limited thinking capacity. Below a certain age, they literally have no episodic memory. To be brief, episodic memories are what we typically conceive memories as being. It's a when the brain replays events in your head to the best of its ability (which is very flawed, BTW). In contrast, there is also semantic memory, which is basically just a collection of facts. Toddlers might remember that throwing a toy on the floor will result in someone picking it up and returning it to you (a child's version of playing fetch with the adults), but they will not have any specific memories of times when this trick has actually worked. I suspect most mammals have semantic memory, but lack episodic memory. Some animals have an impressive amount of brain power, however. I'm sure most of you are familiar with Koko, the gorilla who learned to speak sign language. Koko, while not as intelligent as an adult human, was definitely capable of thought. This shouldn't really be a surprise, though, given they are somewhat close relatives of ours.

I fully agree that other apes are able to think to some degree.  They seem to recognize the deaths of their own kind, react to it briefly.  They recognize unfairness in tests where one is given more food than another.  They recognize themselves in mirrors.

Even my cats understand death of a companion, and they aren't exactly contemplative creatures.  When one dies or is euthanized, I have brought the bodies home and set them out for examination.  The living ones sniff carefully.  One tried to push a body into movement.  Another tried to snuggle against a familiar companion.  In most cases, they were unusually subdued for a day. 

I didn't leave the bodies for long.  There is a fine line for carnivores between "companion" and "food".  But they knew some companion wasn't getting up and around any more.  And they weren't happy.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline trdsf

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #184 on: September 28, 2017, 10:34:29 AM »
Even my cats understand death of a companion, and they aren't exactly contemplative creatures.  When one dies or is euthanized, I have brought the bodies home and set them out for examination.  The living ones sniff carefully.  One tried to push a body into movement.  Another tried to snuggle against a familiar companion.  In most cases, they were unusually subdued for a day. 
I had a similar experience with Random and Mavis, my previous feline overlords.  I'd taken Random to the vet to have kidney stones removed, dropping him off on my way to work, and he'd be staying overnight.  When I got home, Mavis was sitting just inside the front door -- which she never did.  Then she started running back to the bedroom door, then back to me, repeatedly.  When I opened the door, she ran in and checked every corner of the room, then plunked down in front of me and gave one piteous meow.  Clearly, she had some awareness of the concept that Random had been trapped in the bedroom all day.
"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning." -- Calvin and Hobbes
"I thought I committed regicide today, but I committed deicide!" -- Sadie Doyle, Beyond Belief

Offline Cavebear

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #185 on: September 28, 2017, 11:06:43 AM »
I had a similar experience with Random and Mavis, my previous feline overlords.  I'd taken Random to the vet to have kidney stones removed, dropping him off on my way to work, and he'd be staying overnight.  When I got home, Mavis was sitting just inside the front door -- which she never did.  Then she started running back to the bedroom door, then back to me, repeatedly.  When I opened the door, she ran in and checked every corner of the room, then plunked down in front of me and gave one piteous meow.  Clearly, she had some awareness of the concept that Random had been trapped in the bedroom all day.

Our "pets" have more of a relationship to each other than they do us in many ways.  They barely understand us other than some large thing in the house that feeds them and cleans the litterboxes.  They know each other far more intimately. 

As much as they fuss and try to steal each others' food, there is an understanding they have that we never will.  They are distressed when any of them are distressed, they hide in any of them are put into a carrier, if one has stepped on a thorn, they all gather around and lick each other in comfort. 

I can sit on the bed and stroke one and the others start purring, and I don't think it is in expectation of getting stroked.  They are reacting to each other's sense of well-being.  I think they could not even see the other being stroked but still know it is happening.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #186 on: September 28, 2017, 11:18:29 AM »
All I know is my pet thought he needed to go out at 3:30 this morning, and I'm not happy about it...
Save a life. Adopt a Greyhound.


Offline Cavebear

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #187 on: September 28, 2017, 11:19:55 AM »
All I know is my pet thought he needed to go out at 3:30 this morning, and I'm not happy about it...

#10 on the list of why cats are better than dogs, MOL!
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #188 on: September 28, 2017, 01:13:04 PM »
Bravo likes cats.

They taste like chicken.
Save a life. Adopt a Greyhound.


Offline Cavebear

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #189 on: September 28, 2017, 01:37:05 PM »
Bravo likes cats.

They taste like chicken.

That's one thing I won't take lightly.  The casual attitude that many dog-owners have about their woofies killing pet cats is unacceptable.  I do not attack dogs.  My 3 cats mean a lot to me.  Please retract your statement.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #190 on: September 28, 2017, 08:01:13 PM »
I won't retract it because it was meant as a joke. I will however say that I love cats too. While I don't currently have one I have had many over the years. It wasn't that long ago that I had 3 greyhounds and 3 cats all living happily in the same house at the same time. They are all gone now, but we had Panda for 21 years before she passed so we must have been doing something right by her.

As far as Bravo goes he is a bit of a special needs hound. He is very timid although not as bad as he was 3 years ago when we got him. I am pretty sure though that if a cat looked crosseyed at him he would cry and head for hills as fast as he could.

In the meantime meet an old friend of mine, Josie.



Josie passed through my home as puppy on her way to her forever home. The reason Josie only has one eye is she was attacked in her own yard by one of her neighbor's cats.

Tell me something, Cavebear. Are your cats ever allowed to roam freely outside?
Save a life. Adopt a Greyhound.


Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #191 on: September 28, 2017, 09:48:07 PM »
Our "pets" have more of a relationship to each other than they do us in many ways.  They barely understand us other than some large thing in the house that feeds them and cleans the litterboxes.  They know each other far more intimately. 

As much as they fuss and try to steal each others' food, there is an understanding they have that we never will.  They are distressed when any of them are distressed, they hide in any of them are put into a carrier, if one has stepped on a thorn, they all gather around and lick each other in comfort. 

I can sit on the bed and stroke one and the others start purring, and I don't think it is in expectation of getting stroked.  They are reacting to each other's sense of well-being.  I think they could not even see the other being stroked but still know it is happening.

They say that cats don't meow to each other like they do to us. They don't really communicate with other cats with meows, but they developed the behavior to communicate with humans. It's not a universal language either. They develop it as they go, and it varies greatly from cat to cat. My sister's cat, for example, makes three chirps when he hears my sister come home. He's the only one to do that, and he doesn't use those sounds for anything else.

This behavior of meowing at humans might have something to do with their tendency to chirp when they see birds outside the window, as if they were trying to imitate the sounds of the birds and lure them closer. Similarly, their meows may be their attempts to imitate us, to talk to us like we do them.

While cats tend to have more independent personalities than dogs, they can be very empathetic to humans and other animals. While I haven't examined this study myself, there was a study mentioned on an Animal Planet show that found that cats were better at understanding other species than dogs are.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 11:38:40 AM by Blackleaf »
"Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness." - Alejandro Jodorowsky

Offline Cavebear

Re: Do animals "think"
« Reply #192 on: October 01, 2017, 08:13:39 AM »
I won't retract it because it was meant as a joke. I will however say that I love cats too. While I don't currently have one I have had many over the years. It wasn't that long ago that I had 3 greyhounds and 3 cats all living happily in the same house at the same time. They are all gone now, but we had Panda for 21 years before she passed so we must have been doing something right by her.

As far as Bravo goes he is a bit of a special needs hound. He is very timid although not as bad as he was 3 years ago when we got him. I am pretty sure though that if a cat looked crosseyed at him he would cry and head for hills as fast as he could.

In the meantime meet an old friend of mine, Josie.

(Image removed from quote.)

Josie passed through my home as puppy on her way to her forever home. The reason Josie only has one eye is she was attacked in her own yard by one of her neighbor's cats.

Tell me something, Cavebear. Are your cats ever allowed to roam freely outside?

Your statement showed no symbols of a joke and I do not think you meant it as one until questioned.

And I will say that while I have seen many dogs initiate attacks on cats, I have never seen a cat initiate one on a dog except in self defense when cornered.  Be careful how you define "attack"

My cats are allowed out in the backyard where there is a high fence they cannot scale.  The fence is there to protect THEM from the large lethal neighbor dogs that used to live nearby. 

And here is a nice little story for you.  I was in the front yard (pre-fence), and a couple walked past asking if I knew who owned the dog they were leading (apparently lost).  When they guy saw my cat he "sic it" to the dog and it chased my cat into the backyard. 

I had a choice to smash the bastard in the face or run to protect my cat.  I ran to protect my cat.  When I rescued my terrified cat, the dog and the couple were gone.

That's what a dog owner is, to me...  And that's why there is a tall fence.

And I AM sorry for your dog.   No animal should lose an eye for any reason.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 08:15:17 AM by Cavebear »
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950