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Sharing Emotions Builds Bridges Between Individuals And Between Species, Elisabetta Palagi 2019 University of Pisa

Sharing Emotions Builds Bridges Between Individuals And Between Species, Elisabetta Palagi

Animal Sentience

Many animal species express, perceive and share emotions. These abilities have been favoured by natural selection because they allow subjects to respond to various situations in an appropriate way, thus facilitating survival and increasing fitness. The same-face/same-emotion phenomenon is at the basis of sharing feelings and emotions. Recent studies show that this capacity is not unique to humans and that it plays an important role in creating cohesive societies in many different species.


Phenotypic Similarity And Moral Consideration, S. Brian Hood, Sophia Giddens 2019 University of West Florida

Phenotypic Similarity And Moral Consideration, S. Brian Hood, Sophia Giddens

Animal Sentience

Identifying specific traits to justify according differential moral status to humans and non-human animals may be more challenging than Chapman & Huffman suggest. The reasons for this also go against their recommendation that we ought to attend to how humans and non-humans are similar. The problem lies in identifying the moral relevance of biological characteristics. There are, however, other reasons for treating non-human animals as worthy of moral consideration, such as the Precautionary Principle.


Our Brains Make Us Out To Be Unique In Ways We Are Not, Matthew J. Criscione, Julian Paul Keenan 2019 Montclair State University

Our Brains Make Us Out To Be Unique In Ways We Are Not, Matthew J. Criscione, Julian Paul Keenan

Animal Sentience

Humans have long viewed themselves in a favorable light. This bias is consistent with a general pattern of self-enhancement. Neural systems in the medial prefrontal cortex underlie this way of thinking, which, even when false, may be beneficial for survival. It is hence not surprising that we often disregard contrary evidence in believing ourselves superior.


Is Human Uniqueness Fake News?, Sean Hermanson 2019 Florida Int'l University

Is Human Uniqueness Fake News?, Sean Hermanson

Animal Sentience

The world and its troubles don't need unfounded denials of human uniqueness.


“I Am Not An Animal”, Lori Marino 2019 Animal Studies Repository

“I Am Not An Animal”, Lori Marino

Animal Sentience

The answer to Chapman & Huffman’s question — “Why do we want to think humans are different?” — lies in the work of Ernest Becker and the social psychology literature known as Terror Management Theory, according to which our deep anxiety about animality and death can drive our need to feel superior to the other animals.


Mobilizing Heads And Hearts For Wildlife Conservation, Valérie A. M. Schoof, Simon L'Allier 2019 York University

Mobilizing Heads And Hearts For Wildlife Conservation, Valérie A. M. Schoof, Simon L'Allier

Animal Sentience

Highlighting the shared evolutionary relationships between humans and animals — and recognizing that all species, including humans, are unique in their own way — may facilitate caring for and conserving animals by tapping into a human emotion: empathy.


Moral Relevance Of Cognitive Complexity, Empathy And Species Differences In Suffering, John Lazarus 2019 Newcastle University

Moral Relevance Of Cognitive Complexity, Empathy And Species Differences In Suffering, John Lazarus

Animal Sentience

I qualify two criticisms made by commentators on Chapman & Huffman’s target article. Responding to the view that differences between humans and other animals are irrelevant to deciding how we should treat other species, I point out that differences between any species in their capacity to suffer are morally relevant. And in response to the claim that suffering is the sole criterion for the moral treatment of animals, I argue that cognitive complexity and a capacity for empathy also have moral relevance to the extent that they influence suffering.


Developmental Aspects Of Capacities, Karen Bartsch 2019 University of Wyoming

Developmental Aspects Of Capacities, Karen Bartsch

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman suggest that judgments of human superiority underlie our cruelty to animals. It might be useful to examine how such judgments operate within the human community. Children arguably have a potential for developing “superior” capacities but are outperformed on many tasks by animals. There is a continuum of development in children’s capacities. Perhaps there are interspecies evolutionary continua too. This highlights the complexity of reasoning about humans, animals, and moral inclusion.


Non-Human Animals Providing Rescue In Medical Emergencies, Rainer Spiegel 2019 University of Tuebingen (Germany), BG Trauma Hospital Tuebingen

Non-Human Animals Providing Rescue In Medical Emergencies, Rainer Spiegel

Animal Sentience

In their target article, Chapman & Huffman challenge the quotation of Sir William Osler that the desire to take medication distinguishes humans from non-human animals. They provide examples of self-medication in non-human animals. Based on these examples, it can be inferred that non-human animals practice at least some form of medicine for symptom control. I would like to extend this view by showing that non-human animals not only provide self-medication, but also rescue others facing emergencies.


Mirror Neurons And Humanity’S Dark Side, Gisela Kaplan 2019 University of New England,Armidale,Australia

Mirror Neurons And Humanity’S Dark Side, Gisela Kaplan

Animal Sentience

The last two decades have revealed brain mechanisms in birds and primates showing that, contrary to earlier prejudices, some birds can do things (cognitive and affective) on par with or even better than great apes and humans. The old dichotomies are breaking down; but the dark side is that these insights come at a time in the Anthropocene when humans have caused and continue to cause mass extinctions.


Humans May Be Unique And Superior — And That Is Irrelevant, Eze Paez 2019 University of Minho

Humans May Be Unique And Superior — And That Is Irrelevant, Eze Paez

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman argue that, because humans are neither unique nor superior to the other animals, cruelty to animals is not justified. Though I agree with their conclusion, I do not think their argument works. Many human beings do have some capacities that animals do not have and are greater in some respects, in the sense of having superior abilities. It is a better argument to deny that any of that is morally relevant. Sentience suffices for moral consideration, and for deriving a moral duty not to harm other animals and to assist them when they are in need.


Phooey On Comparisons, Gwen J. Broude 2019 Vassar College

Phooey On Comparisons, Gwen J. Broude

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman reject the notion that human beings are very different from other animals. The goal is to undermine the claim that human uniqueness and even superiority are reason enough to treat other animals badly. But evaluating human uniqueness for this purpose only plays into the hands of those who exploit invidious comparisons between us and other animals to justify mistreatment of the rest of the animal kingdom. What human uniqueness we may discover would still be no justification for how we behave toward other animals. We should also ask ourselves whether any human-centric criterion can be justification for determining ...


More Evidence Of Complex Cognition In Nonhuman Species, Lesley J. Rogers 2019 University of New England

More Evidence Of Complex Cognition In Nonhuman Species, Lesley J. Rogers

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman have highlighted observations of animals performing, in nature, complex behaviour once thought to be unique to humans. Just as relevant to their argument are examples of cognition shown by domesticated species tested in controlled conditions. These strengthen the case for human/nonhuman similarities in behaviour and cognition. Recent research has brought to our attention the ability of nonhuman species to perform many tasks previously considered to be the hallmark of humans. Even though different species may use different ways of solving these tasks, the very fact that they can do it undermines the notion of human superiority.


Across The Great Divide, Debra Merskin 2019 Animal Studies Repository

Across The Great Divide, Debra Merskin

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman’s target article calls for a reevaluation of claims of human uniqueness and superiority. It also adds to the literature on how species differences, as Darwin noted, are more of degree than kind. The threats to environmental health and species survival are a consequence of excluding nonhuman animals from moral concern and consideration. The theory of intersectionality should include speciesism in the array of discriminatory practices.


Corticocentric Bias In Cognitive Neuroscience, Orit Nafcha, Shai Gabay 2019 University of Haifa

Corticocentric Bias In Cognitive Neuroscience, Orit Nafcha, Shai Gabay

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman (2018) note that our tendency to categorize leads to a sense of human superiority that helps justify violence against nonhuman animals. Yet animals are turning out to have capacities previously thought to be uniquely human. We add a further factor that may contribute to the false sense of human superiority: the "corticocentric" bias of neuroscience. An evolutionary approach may help identify species similarities and differences, providing a better understanding of the uniqueness of each species.


Unique In Degree Not Kindness, Jennifer Vonk 2019 Oakland University

Unique In Degree Not Kindness, Jennifer Vonk

Animal Sentience

Humans are certainly unique among living species. This is evident in the transformation of human environments and its resulting impact on other animals. However, many of the traits unique to humans are costly as well as adaptive and should certainly not be used to elevate their status above that of other species.


Animal Sentience Is Not Enough To Motivate Conservation, Irene M. Pepperberg 2019 Harvard University

Animal Sentience Is Not Enough To Motivate Conservation, Irene M. Pepperberg

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman suggest that humans’ views of their own superiority are a source of their callousness toward the environment. I do not disagree but point to a number of other issues that must be addressed for conservation efforts to succeed.


Humans Have Always Been Unique!, William C. McGrew 2019 School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews

Humans Have Always Been Unique!, William C. Mcgrew

Animal Sentience

Arguments about human uniqueness apply not only to extant species but also to extinct ones, that is, the hominin predecessors of anatomically modern Homo sapiens. Thus, unique and superior are doubly relative terms, in past and present. The scope for empirical comparison faces a spectrum of difficulty, from material (e.g., artefacts) to non-material (e.g., concepts) phenomena.


Anthropomorphism Is The First Step, Marthe Kiley-Worthington 2019 Centre d'Eco-Etho Recherche et Education.

Anthropomorphism Is The First Step, Marthe Kiley-Worthington

Animal Sentience

Individuals have intentions, beliefs and choices. This sense of “personhood” has been known and used for centuries by those who have dealt professionally with any nonhuman mammal. All mammals have a lot in common physically and mentally. The first step toward understand another species’ point of view is anthropomorphism.


Taking Exception To Human Exceptionalism, Carrie P. Freeman 2019 Georgia State University

Taking Exception To Human Exceptionalism, Carrie P. Freeman

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman refute common claims used to justify human species distinctions, and they critique the animal cruelty that has resulted from this privileged status. I raise related questions for further study of the roots of human exceptionalism and about whether aspiring to be more like our fellow animals might be part of the solution.


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