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Full-Text Articles in Psychology

Free Will And Animal Suicide, Sabina Schrynemakers Jan 2022

Free Will And Animal Suicide, Sabina Schrynemakers

Animal Sentience

David Peña-Guzmán presents two arguments against the view that because only humans have free will only humans can commit suicide: (1) nonhuman animals may possess free will, and (2) the libertarian notion of free will is incompatible with scientific explanation. The free will objection to animal suicide is indeed mistaken, but Peña-Guzmán’s criticism of the libertarian notion of free will seems misplaced. His target should instead be the assumption that free choices must be made consciously or self-reflectively or the assumption that freedom cannot come in degrees.


Pain Sentience Criteria And Their Grading, Eva Jablonka, Simona Ginsburg Jan 2022

Pain Sentience Criteria And Their Grading, Eva Jablonka, Simona Ginsburg

Animal Sentience

On the basis of the target article by Crump and colleagues, we suggest a more parsimonious scheme for evaluating the evidence for sentience. Since some of the criteria used by Crump et al. are not independent and some are uninformative we exclude some criteria and amalgamate others. We propose that evidence of flexible learning and prioritization, in conjunction with relevant data on brain organization, is sufficient for assigning pain-sentience to an animal and we suggest a scoring scheme based on four criteria.


Emotional Component Of Pain Perception In The Medicinal Leech?, Brian D. Burrell Jan 2022

Emotional Component Of Pain Perception In The Medicinal Leech?, Brian D. Burrell

Animal Sentience

Crump et al. have provided a series of criteria to assess animal sentience that is focused on the perception of pain, which is known to have both sensory and emotional components. They also provide a qualitative scoring system to assess data that address the eight criteria and apply this paradigm to decapod crustaceans. The criteria laid out have the potential to be applied to other invertebrates typically thought to have sensory response to tissue damage, but no emotional component to pain perception.


Of Course Crustaceans Are Sentient: But There's More To The Story, Arthur S. Reber, Frantisek Baluska, William B. Miller Jr. Jan 2022

Of Course Crustaceans Are Sentient: But There's More To The Story, Arthur S. Reber, Frantisek Baluska, William B. Miller Jr.

Animal Sentience

We are in basic agreement with Crump et al. that animal welfare, particularly with regard to the experience of pain, is a topic of importance. However, we come to the issue from a different perspective, one in which all species are sentient and can feel pain. The implications of this theory are discussed.


Independence, Weight And Priority Of Evidence For Sentience, Elizabeth Irvine Jan 2022

Independence, Weight And Priority Of Evidence For Sentience, Elizabeth Irvine

Animal Sentience

This commentary maps out relationships of dependency between the criteria proposed in the target article (Crump et al. 2022), identifying the criteria that carry most of the weight of the evidence, and suggesting which criteria should have priority in research on sentience.


Generalizing Frameworks For Sentience Beyond Natural Species, Michael Levin Jan 2022

Generalizing Frameworks For Sentience Beyond Natural Species, Michael Levin

Animal Sentience

Crump et al. (2022) offer a well-argued example of an essential development: a rigorous framework for assessing sentience from the perspective of moral concern over an agent’s welfare. Current and forthcoming developments in bioengineering, synthetic morphology, artificial intelligence, biorobotics, and exobiology necessitate an expansion and generalization of this effort. Verbal reports (the Turing Test) and homology to human brains are utterly inadequate criteria for assessing the status of novel, unconventional agents that offer no familiar touchstone of phylogeny or anatomy. We must develop principled approaches to evaluating the sentience of (and thus, our responsibility to) beings of unfamiliar provenance and …


Does The Sentience Framework Imply All Animals Are Sentient?, Kristin Andrews Jan 2022

Does The Sentience Framework Imply All Animals Are Sentient?, Kristin Andrews

Animal Sentience

The eight criteria proposed in Crump et al.’s framework for evaluating pain sentience in decapod crustaceans are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to markers that could increase confidence in an animal’s sentience more generally. Some of the commentaries have already pointed out that pain is only one kind of sentience (Souza Valente). It has also already been pointed out that there are other criteria for pain that could be usefully added to the framework’s eight (Burrell). This expansive thinking about criteria that can be used to increase confidence in sentience raisess the question: in an expansive …


Unconscious Humans, Autonomous Machines And The Difficulty Of Knowing Which Animals Are Sentient, Marian Stamp Dawkins Jan 2022

Unconscious Humans, Autonomous Machines And The Difficulty Of Knowing Which Animals Are Sentient, Marian Stamp Dawkins

Animal Sentience

The framework proposed by Crump et al. still leaves much doubt about whether invertebrates such as crabs are sentient. For example, many complex behaviours - even in humans - occur without sentience. Also, simple machines could easily meet all of Crump et al.’s eight proposed criteria for sentience. Acknowledging the limitations of what we currently know about sentience is important both for formulating legislation correctly and for advancing scientific understanding of this most puzzling of biological phenomena.


Sentience As Part Of Emotional Lives, Frans B. M. De Waal Jan 2022

Sentience As Part Of Emotional Lives, Frans B. M. De Waal

Animal Sentience

It is high time to explore the sentience of invertebrate animals, but this topic cannot be discussed without also exploring their emotional lives, including positive emotions. Sentience probably evolved to allow the regulation of emotions by endowing them with feelings.


Sentience Criteria To Persuade The Reasonable Sceptic, Patrick Butlin Jan 2022

Sentience Criteria To Persuade The Reasonable Sceptic, Patrick Butlin

Animal Sentience

When presented with evidence that Crump et al.’s criteria are satisfied for the animals in some taxon, a sceptic could reasonably continue to suspend judgement about whether those animals are sentient. This is because the criteria refer to abilities which are associated with sentience in humans, but it is not clear that sentience is necessary for these abilities. The criteria could be strengthed by requiring evidence of a contrast in performance between cases in which information is carried by felt and unfelt states.



Distinguishing Epistemic And Moral Grounds For Legal Protection, Carlos Montemayor Jan 2022

Distinguishing Epistemic And Moral Grounds For Legal Protection, Carlos Montemayor

Animal Sentience

The criteria proposed by Crump et al. are based on various cognitive roles associated with sentience. A subset of them may be sufficient for certain kinds of welfare, but the presence of all of them should be considered as clearly sufficient for substantial kinds of legal protection based on their relation to capacities that we consider essential for moral standing in human beings.


Truly Minimal Criteria For Animal Sentience, Mark Solms Jan 2022

Truly Minimal Criteria For Animal Sentience, Mark Solms

Animal Sentience

The criteria for determining animal sentience proposed in the target article are sensible but they lack an explicit functional justification for the focus on pain. This commentary provides an abbreviated account of the most basic functional principles that underpin animal sentience and articulates some minimal criteria for determining its presence.


Unresolved Issues Of Behavioral Analysis In Invertebrates, Charles I. Abramson, Paco Calvo Jan 2022

Unresolved Issues Of Behavioral Analysis In Invertebrates, Charles I. Abramson, Paco Calvo

Animal Sentience

Crump et al. (2022) provide a framework for determining the presence of sentience in organisms. Their target article is interesting and thought-provoking, but it does not consider the many unresolved issues related to behavioral analysis – especially when it concerns invertebrates. We feel that no real progress can be made until such fundamental issues as the need for a consistent definition of conditioning phenomena, the lack of a generally accepted behavioral taxonomy, and the use of cognitive terms to explain invertebrate behavior are examined critically.


Sentience In Decapods: Difficulties To Surmount, Michael L. Woodruff Jan 2022

Sentience In Decapods: Difficulties To Surmount, Michael L. Woodruff

Animal Sentience

In the target article Crump et al. present 8 criteria to assess whether decapods experience pain. Four of these -- sensory integration, motivational trade-offs, flexible self-protection, and associative learning -- could be used to assess sentience in general. In this commentary I discuss difficulties with using these criteria to provide evidence of sentience in decapods, particularly if this evidence is to change public opinion and policies. These difficulties are lack of evidence, the potential to eventually explain the neurobiological basis of the behaviors chosen as criteria, thereby eliminating any explanatory work for sentience, and the reluctance to bring animals that …


A Framework For Evaluating Evidence Of Pain In Animals, Matilda Gibbons, Lars Chittka Jan 2022

A Framework For Evaluating Evidence Of Pain In Animals, Matilda Gibbons, Lars Chittka

Animal Sentience

Crump et al. define eight criteria indicating sentience in animals, with a focus on pain. Here, we point out the risk of false negative or false positive diagnoses of pain. Criteria of different levels of inclusivity are useful for using the precautionary principle in animal welfare considerations, and for more formal scientific evidence of pain. We suggest tightening the criteria -- from more general evidence of sentience to pain alone -- because crucial evidence for animal welfare decisions might otherwise be missed for animals subjected to invasive and injurious procedures.


The Science Of Animal Sentience And The Politics Of Animal Welfare Should Be Kept Separate, Marian Stamp Dawkins Jan 2022

The Science Of Animal Sentience And The Politics Of Animal Welfare Should Be Kept Separate, Marian Stamp Dawkins

Animal Sentience

Although linked historically by Rowan et al., the scientific study of animal sentience and political campaigns to improve animal welfare should be kept separate, for at least two reasons. First, the separation makes it clear that standards of evidence acceptable for ethical or political decisions on animal welfare can be lower than those required for a rigorously scientific approach to animal sentience. Second, it helps to avoid confirmatory bias in the form of giving undue weight to results that are in line with pre-conceived ideas and political views.


Defining And Assessing Sentience, Barry O. Hughes Jan 2022

Defining And Assessing Sentience, Barry O. Hughes

Animal Sentience

Precisely what is meant by the term sentience and how does it overlap with being conscious? We accept that animals have feelings but how do we know what they are and can we measure them? It is important that we clarify the terminology underlying these difficult concepts. Over the last 50 years a scientific discipline has developed to tackle these questions in a systematic way. We have to avoid thoughtless anthropomorphism yet we have to try to relate sentience in animals, as appropriate, to corresponding experiences in humans.


Pros And Cons Of A Framework For Evaluating Potential Pain In Decapods, Robert W. Elwood Jan 2022

Pros And Cons Of A Framework For Evaluating Potential Pain In Decapods, Robert W. Elwood

Animal Sentience

The rigorous framework for research into potential pain in decapods was successful in allowing legislators in the United Kingdom to evaluate a complex scientific issue. However, it might produce problems for research. I discuss doubts about the usefulness of the eight criteria. Some have yet to receive any investigation and others do not allow much inference about pain. In addition, some existing studies are not covered in the framework. Most worrying, however, is the potential for stifling future research of novel areas that are excluded from the framework.


Sentience And Sentient Minds, John Anthony Webster Jan 2022

Sentience And Sentient Minds, John Anthony Webster

Animal Sentience

My commentary builds on Rowan et al.’s (2022) comprehensive review to address the question ‘what do we mean by sentience?’ It suggests how we might recognise degrees of sentience within the animal kingdom, ranging from primitive sensations such as hunger and pain to more complex emotions that determine quality of life.


Wild Animal Welfare, Clare Palmer, Peter Sandøe Jan 2022

Wild Animal Welfare, Clare Palmer, Peter Sandøe

Animal Sentience

Rowan et al’s article provides an overview of developments in the science of animal sentience and its links to animal welfare policy, especially regarding farm animals. But changing ideas of animal sentience and welfare are also important for managing wild and other free-living animals. We ask how the welfare of these animals differs from that of farmed animals, especially how the ability to make autonomous choices may matter. We suggest that more research into wild animal welfare is needed to make informed policy decisions, for example, about using animals in rewilding projects and choosing between policies of culling and fertility …


Sentience In Decapod Crustaceans: A General Framework And Review Of The Evidence, Andrew Crump, Heather Browning, Alex Schnell, Charlotte Burn, Jonathan Birch Jan 2022

Sentience In Decapod Crustaceans: A General Framework And Review Of The Evidence, Andrew Crump, Heather Browning, Alex Schnell, Charlotte Burn, Jonathan Birch

Animal Sentience

We outline a framework for evaluating scientific evidence of sentience, focusing on pain experience. It includes eight neural and cognitive-behavioural criteria, with confidence levels for each criterion reflecting the reliability and quality of the evidence. We outline the rationale for each criterion and apply our framework to a controversial sentience candidate: decapod crustaceans. We have either high or very high confidence that true crabs (infraorder Brachyura) satisfy five criteria, amounting to strong evidence of sentience. Moreover, we have high confidence that both anomuran crabs (infraorder Anomura) and astacid lobsters/crayfish (infraorder Astacidea) meet three criteria—substantial evidence of sentience. The case is, …


Defending Human Difference By Raising The Bar, Joe Gough Jan 2022

Defending Human Difference By Raising The Bar, Joe Gough

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman (C&H) offer a theory of why we humans want to believe that we are different: to justify our cruelty to animals. This commentary offers further supporting evidence of this and examines more closely what the claim that humans are ‘different’ amounts to. It also considers some methodological issues in animal psychology closely related to C&H ‘s theory. These problems result from a common strategy for defending hypotheses about human difference.


Time To Stop Pretending We Don’T Know Other Animals Are Sentient Beings, Marc Bekoff Jan 2022

Time To Stop Pretending We Don’T Know Other Animals Are Sentient Beings, Marc Bekoff

Animal Sentience

Rowan et al.’s target article is an outstanding review of some of the history of the science of sentience, but one would have liked to see a much stronger “call to action.” We don’t need any more data to know that many other animals are sentient beings whose lives must be protected from harm in a wide variety of contexts. It is not anti-science to want more action on behalf of other animals right now.


All Living Organisms Are Sentient, Arthur S. Reber, Frantisek Baluska, William B. Miller Jr. Jan 2022

All Living Organisms Are Sentient, Arthur S. Reber, Frantisek Baluska, William B. Miller Jr.

Animal Sentience

We argue that all living organisms, from the simplest unicellular prokaryotes to Homo sapiens, have valenced experiences—feelings as states of preference—and are capable of cognitive representations. Bacteria can learn, form stable memories, and communicate, hence solve problems. Rowan et al.'s statement that "Subjective feelings are just that — subjective — and are available only to the animal (or human) experiencing them" is true but irrelevant. When we see a fish flopping about in the bottom of a boat we immediately recognize suffering without having a glimpse of the nature of piscine distress. Some controlled anthropomorphism can go a …


Revisiting Donald Griffin, Founder Of Cognitive Ethology, Carolyn A. Ristau Jan 2022

Revisiting Donald Griffin, Founder Of Cognitive Ethology, Carolyn A. Ristau

Animal Sentience

Donald Griffin’s writings, beginning with The Question of Animal Awareness (1976), strove to persuade scientists to study the possibility of animal sentience, the basis of Rowan et al.’s efforts to promote animal well-being. Facing great hostility (but also some acceptance) for his ideas, Griffin initially avoided animal welfare advocacy, fearing it would further undermine his efforts to gain recognition of animal sentience. In later years, however, he began to ponder the ethical implications of animal sentience, intending to study wild elephants’ communication and social behavior to better understand their experienced life and apply it to improving conservation methods. As he …


The Reality And Prevalence Of Animal Sentience, Antonio Damasio Jan 2022

The Reality And Prevalence Of Animal Sentience, Antonio Damasio

Animal Sentience

Rowan et al use findings from neurobiology, clinical neurology, and general biology to argue for the extensive presence of sentience in animals, but they are wisely cautious concerning when in the phylogenetic scale that emergence occurred.


Motivated Science: What Humans Gain From Denying Animal Sentience, Uri Lifshin Jan 2022

Motivated Science: What Humans Gain From Denying Animal Sentience, Uri Lifshin

Animal Sentience

Resistance to the idea that non-human animals are sentient resembles erstwhile resistance to the theory that the earth is not the centre of the universe, or that humans evolved from “apes”. All these notions are psychologically threatening. They can remind people of their own creatureliness and mortality and might make them feel guilty or uncertain about their way of life. An honest debate over animal sentience, welfare and rights should consider the human motivation to deprive animals of these things in the first place. I briefly review empirical evidence on the psychological function of denying animal minds.


Animal Sentience Research: Synthesis And Proposals, Andrew Crump, Heather Browning, Alex Schnell, Charlotte Burn, Jonathan Birch Jan 2022

Animal Sentience Research: Synthesis And Proposals, Andrew Crump, Heather Browning, Alex Schnell, Charlotte Burn, Jonathan Birch

Animal Sentience

Most commentaries on our target article broadly support our approach to evaluating evidence of animal sentience. In this Response, we clarify the framework’s purpose and address criticisms of our criteria. A recurring theme is that a framework to synthesise current evidence of sentience is not the same as an agenda for future directions in animal sentience research. Although future directions are valuable, our framework aims to evaluate existing evidence and inform animal welfare legislation.


Sentience Politics : A Fishy Perspective, Culum Brown Jan 2022

Sentience Politics : A Fishy Perspective, Culum Brown

Animal Sentience

The plight of fishes has almost certainly got worse since Bentham (1789) coined the phrase “The question is not Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but Can they suffer?” Despite the fact that fishes are increasingly recognised as sentient animals worthy of protection under animal welfare legislation in many countries around the world, fishing practices are almost universally exempt activities. The human population continues to grow, and, surprisingly, per capita intake of fish is still increasing (FAO 2020). The source of this fish is not wild stocks (catches of which have remained more or less stagnant for …


Legal Recognition Of Animal Sentience: The Case For Cautious Optimism, Jane Kotzmann Jan 2022

Legal Recognition Of Animal Sentience: The Case For Cautious Optimism, Jane Kotzmann

Animal Sentience

Rowan et al.’s target article provides a valuable indication of the work that was required to reach the point where animals are recognised as sentient in various laws. To ensure this work was not in vain, the language of sentience needs to be used as a moral currency to demand further cultural change involving greater human respect for animals.