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Dogs as 'persons', with emotions?
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    I'm sure, by now, many of you have read this article on recent MRI studies on dogs, reported by the NY Times. While I find the authors spin a bit far fetched, I am pretty excited that this type of research is taking place.

    On the other hand, I find the authors view of behaviorism as a methodology a bit disappointing. As you will read in the second article, behaviourists have worked very hard to show that dogs have emotions, can reason and differentiate, and are far more intellegent than given credit for.

    In any event, I dont know if I could ever consider Kobe a 'person'. Rather, he's an individual, who happens to be a canine, and never ceases to amaze me with his Intellegence and antics.

    The article:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/opinion/sunday/dogs-are-people-too.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    The response:

    http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/animals-and-us/201310/are-dogs-people-really

    Looking forward to hearing what you all think!

    [added keyword to title with OP suggestion]
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
    Post edited by curlytails at 2014-04-25 21:12:11
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 644
    Be for I read the links. I would like to remind everyone Shiba Inus' are dogs...
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    No, they are not people, whatever similarities in brain functions we might find. We should treat them well and with kindness, but they are not small hairy people.

    I have trouble envisioning a society that treats dogs as full persons. The simple mechanics of it seem daunting. The article notes a number of activities that, "would be banned for violating the basic right of self-determination of a person." However, how do we grapple with informed consent in a person whose understanding of the world is fundamentally different?

    There are people who choose to be medical test subjects, for instance, and people who race and people who have huge numbers of children. If dogs are people, we should not deny them those opportunities - but how can we ensure that only consenting dogs are involved? I have trouble envisioning a scenario that doesn't involve us projecting human concerns into their world.
    image
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • natashanatasha
    Posts: 122
    Both articles were interesting and made some valid points. While most of us realize our dogs aren't human, those of us who live with these wonderful animals rather than using them as lawn ornaments out in the back yard, have realized long ago that they're a lot smarter and more complex than the "dumb animal" view some people have of dogs. I welcome any study that attempts to educate people as to the fact that dogs and other animals are sentient beings and not just bags of instinct, although their instincts definitely play a large role in their development. My shiba may not be human but she's definitely a fully fledged member of my family and a canine person in her own right :o3
  • The original MRI study is fascinating, but at least the NYT version of it shows the researcher making huge leaps, which were discussed well in the PT version. what they have found does not make dogs "persons" but it is super interesting.

    I'd be very dubious of a campaign to consider dogs as "persons" too, because I can see how animal right's groups could use that as a way to shut down many things that dog people love: dog shows, dog breeding, etc. It's no secret that groups like PETA want there to be NO animals as pets, and I could see this kind of study by used by groups like that.

    Still, I think the original research is valuable, if I disagree with the conclusions drawn from it. It's interesting to find out more information about how the canine mind works, and it was certainly fascinating from a training perspective.

    (I didn't get the thing about behavioralism? Did I miss it in the NYT article, or was it part of the actual study and not discussed there? I saw the reference to it in the PT article, of course, and yes, they were using behavioralist methods for the training...)

    Anyway, super cool articles, so thanks for linking them here!
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    natasha said:

    Both articles were interesting and made some valid points. While most of us realize our dogs aren't human, those of us who live with these wonderful animals rather than using them as lawn ornaments out in the back yard, have realized long ago that they're a lot smarter and more complex than the "dumb animal" view some people have of dogs. I welcome any study that attempts to educate people as to the fact that dogs and other animals are sentient beings and not just bags of instinct, although their instincts definitely play a large role in their development. My shiba may not be human but she's definitely a fully fledged member of my family and a canine person in her own right :o3



    I think @natasha expressed some of my thoughts well.

    I had seen the original article on FB and saw the differing viewpoints. I know there is concern over the slippery slope of humanizing them. What I did like though when I saw the article was it can serve as a way to convince the more normal side of society that dogs do have a level of emotions. I think some of society does need more incentive to stop acting like animals are property that can be abused or disposed of without remorse, so if this moves that side of society to the more middle ground I am in support of it. I do think general society needs to see themselves more as guardians than owners, but I do understand the slippery slope when pushing the concept of emotion to a humanized level.
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    @shibamistress...you are correct, the NYT article doesn't specifically mention Behaviourism, but IMO, his first couple of paragraphs seem to imply that animal scientists/behaviourists tend to shy away from animal emotions.
    "it has been easy to sidestep the difficult questions about animal science and emotions because they have been unanswerable".

    While I agree that much of the work done by behaviourists is more overt, I think they have done a lot to examine animal emotions and have answered some difficult questions. Don't know, maybe I'm just reading too much into it?!

    Very great responses EVERYONE!!
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3491
    When i saw the title of the thread...I thought somebody was like me and think dogs should be counted as "persons" for carpool purposes. :-))
  • kalicokalico
    Posts: 55
    My company just did an article on it too. Nothing new in terms of info, but Emory did allow us to post their video:
    http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/dogs-have-capacity-for-emotion-study-finds

    I think that the research is really interesting, but to consider dogs as "people" is a farfetched. What I do hope though, is that this research is used to help further protect dogs from neglect and abuse and make harsher punishments for those that choose to harm them. I've had many people here in Georgia say "you're giving dogs too much credit, they're just dogs". Research like this can come to help make people see them for what we know they are. Not humans, but loving companions that are much smarter than most give them credit for.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    I may be in the minority here, but I've always thought my dogs were very similar to young toddlers. They act and think so much like young toddlers. They are extremely smart and learn to understand me when I speak to them. They sense my sadness, and know when I'm happy. They understand what it is that I want them to do, and what they are not supposed to do. The more time I spend with them, the more they learn. I know they are not humans, but they definitely have a place in my heart alongside my children and family members.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1253
    It could be the other way around, people are actually dogs! :D
    Aren't there many studies out there on many species, confirming they have a wide range of emotions, so this is not a characteristic confined to humans.
    I remember reading years ago about a study on cows where they found that the brain activity increased in the part of the brain that controls feeling happiness when the cows managed to solve a problem!!!
    In this case it was about how to open the door to their booth and get out from the barn.
    I love it, problem solving happy cows!
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    @Juni...I think you are giving (some) people way too much credit!!(lol)

    But you are correct, there has been a lot of research confirming that dogs(and other animals as you noted) have emotions similar to humans. I guess that was my point when I mentioned animal scientists and even behaviourists using Behaviourism as a methodology in these findings.

    While I think there isn't a whole lot of new information learned by this MRI research(as of yet), I do believe it confirms what has already been researched, and it might put it in a context that will make it easier for those critics and skeptics to understand and believe.

    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    Rikka said:

    No, they are not people, whatever similarities in brain functions we might find. We should treat them well and with kindness, but they are not small hairy people.


    But Tatonka thinks he's people. A small hairy funny looking human.

    I believe him.
    Monkey!
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    This article does a much better job explaining what I've stated about Behaviourism. It's a good read.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2013/10/11/232027296/if-you-gotta-ask-you-ain-t-never-gonna-know


    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 644
    Lol; tatonka brings up an interesting point. My Shiba has demonstrated behavior that feels like he's a raceist and evil. Idk. :D
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    A racist dog?!

    Another good response to the article:

    http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/mris-and-dogs


    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    tatonka said:


    But Tatonka thinks he's people. A small hairy funny looking human.

    I believe him.



    Nope. ;)
    image
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/14/4834330/bonobos-and-humans-emotional-expression

    Relevant?

    This paragraph stands out for me:
    According to the researchers, this underscores an important human parallel. Studies have shown that human children who have a stable relationship with their parents learn to control their emotions as they develop, whereas orphans typically struggle to temper their ups and downs. In humans, such emotional regulation is seen as critical to healthy social development, as children who do a better job of controlling their own emotions are more likely to feel empathy for others.


    Maybe not relevant. Just thought it was interesting :)

    P.s. @Rikka, stuff it :P
    Monkey!
    Post edited by tatonka at 2013-10-14 22:41:12
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    Sort of thought this study fits in here, kinda sorta....very cool what they are doing with MRI's and dogs.

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26276660
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1253
    You beat me to it @kobe1468 I was just about to post it!
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 644
    Ratchet and I like to watch gangster shows. We got hooked on this HBO’s True Detective series, and I found Rust’s comment interesting at the end of episode 3 about being a person. Warning, the show is for mature audiences.



    I find Rust's character very Shiba Inu like. He has an aloof personality in the show. I bet at his end he dreamed about being a Shiba Inu.
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    Thanks @curlytails!
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • poltergeistpoltergeist
    Posts: 426
    This is a strange article. It is like reminding us that humans are animals and therefore have similar emotions as other animals (positive/negative emotions).
    image
  • poltergeistpoltergeist
    Posts: 426
    My husband just sent me this article on animals dreaming; enjoy! http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140425-what-do-animals-dream-about
    image
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    Cool article about pets dreaming! I do wonder what Kira dreams about, she makes yappy and growling noises when she sleeps that lasts a couple minutes.
    Maybe of chasing a ball or playing with her kitty siblings? Ah, the possibilities!

    edit: my phone made up a new word - fo!
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    imageimage
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
    Follow Kira on Instagram! Kira_the_cream_shiba_inu
    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
    Post edited by Kira_Kira at 2014-04-26 09:11:53

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