Animals Found to Possess Self-Awareness by University of Warwick Researchers
Breaking news: A study published in the April 2015 edition of Current Zoology might change the way omnivores think about the animals they eat. Researchers from the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, authored a paper that draws the conclusion that animals must have at least a primitive sense of self in order to be able to project potential courses of action based on their past experiences. In “From foraging to autonoetic consciousness: The primal self as a consequence of embodied prospective foraging,” authors Thomas T. Hills and Stephen Butterfill used the observation of rats who seems to pause divergent paths in a maze as their jumping off point. Hills says of the study:
The study’s key insight is that those animals capable of simulating their future actions must be able to distinguish between their imagined actions and those that are actually experienced. The study answers a very old question: do animals have a sense of self? Our first aim was to understand the recent neural evidence that animals can project themselves into the future. What we wound up understanding is that, in order to do so, they must have a primal sense of self.
Though only one study, this paper opens the door for more detailed psychological research into the inner lives of animals.
Original articles: http://phys.org/news/2015-06-self-awareness-unique-mankind.html and http://www.currentzoology.org/paperdetail.asp?id=12442
Image source: http://www.life-enhancement.com/images/LEM1212-Rat-maze-400.jpg