Animal Emotion Essay

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Emotion has been a developing field in psychology for years now and recently expanded beyond understanding just human emotion. Years ago, animals were only studied to see how they modeled human emotion, but now these animals are not just lab rats but viewed as unique creatures with their own behaviors and feelings that compare to a humans, but are not the same. In fact the field of animal emotion is growing more and more as animal behavior becomes a popular profession and easier to research. This raises the question, how similar to human emotion is animal emotion? Are they alike at all and how much emotion do animals express? Animals have the ability to show emotions in many different ways through facial expression, vocalizations, and body …show more content…
For most who have spent time around animals it’s obvious that animals do have emotions and ways to express them. Despite the strong evidence that animals do in fact have emotions and an understanding of others there is a lot of debate as to how complex emotions in animals really are. The emotions most commonly observed in animals are joy through play and grief through loss (Bekoff, 2000). Many animals have much more complex emotions, but they are not as recognizable. When animal emotion was first studied, it was often believed that animals had very little control over their emotions, which is why researchers looked to them to study primal responses beyond their control. More recent studies have shown that animals not only have control over their emotions, but also have strong emotional cognition (De Waal, 2011). Much of the emotional expression in animals is based on their social interactions with their community whether it is in the form of family or a large …show more content…
The daily encounters between people are what triggers how humans think, feel, and behave. Animals, like humans, are shaped by their social interactions. These interactions provide an opportunity for the animal to gain an understanding for what is right and wrong, as well as view models for emotion. Particularly in primate groups the social interactions between members of the communities are based on their rank as dominant or subordinate. In one experiment researchers McFarland, Roebuck, Yan, Majolo, Li, and Guo (2013) discovered that primates had a sense of self respect and respect for others in their community. The primates studied were willing to sacrifice a reward just to view the face of the dominant male but expect more reward if they were to view the face of a subordinate. They knew their ranking and had a sense even when just viewing an image of the dominant or subordinate where they belonged in the hierarchy. Eye contact was a key aspect in the social interactions of primates. For rhesus macaques eye contact was seen as threatening behavior and if a lower monkey made eye contact with one of a higher status they would make appeasement gestures to avoid a punishment (McFarland et al., 2013). The body language that appeared when interacting with a monkey of higher rank was nonthreatening and made the monkey appear weaker than they actually were. The rhesus macaque also provided care for those who had been beaten by the

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