Humans feel and express a wide range of emotions even during mundane day to day activities. As a student at UMass Amherst, I often switch from calm and content to being completely overwhelmed within minutes. For years, we thought that ability to feel emotions such as love, shame, and guilt was only restricted to us. However, an article by Manekha Gandi proves this assumption incorrect, providing a variety of examples pointing toward the fact that many animals are capable of feelings.
Amongst a number of studies and examples of feelings and emotions being experienced by animals, the story of a woman Chinky and her monkey stood out the most. After “… her army husband was sent to Sri Lanka…” Chinky adopted a one-armed monkey and the two became very attached. Upon husband’s return, a number of jealousy-driven conflicts between a monkey and husband took place. Faced with an ultimatum, Chinky chose the monkey over her relationship. Animal’s love toward Chinky and its competitiveness for attention was so intense that it drove the couple apart.
Another emotion discussed at length in this study is a “strong aversion to inequality” is dogs. In her paper presented to the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Friederike Range provides an excellent example where dogs happily give paw without even expecting a reward; however, if they see another dog being rewarded for the same act, the dogs eventually stop cooperating expecting a reward themselves. This is an excellent demonstration of animals’ capability to recognize unfair treatment.
National Academy of Sciences has been dedicated to the animal research initiative for a long time and contains a number of interesting links on their website. It is worth taking a look at it no matter what age you are. The link is shown at the end of this post.
As a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Massachusetts Academy of Sciences fully supports research of animals’ emotion and their hidden personalities. Also check out the pictures on the website of our mascot, Monty the Python, Charles Darwin (Bearded Dragon) and Doc (African Grey Parrot). The range of emotions they display and their wild personalities are unparallel in the animal community.
National Academy of Sciences animal research: http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/nwst1.htm
Written by: Sergey Chikvashvili