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Old 11-14-2009, 03:48 PM
Location: Coachella Valley, California
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Originally Posted by Draconiator View Post
I know some pets and animals recognize the other cat or dog in the mirror, but do they ever refer to themselves in their heads as "me"? I've been wondering about this casually, and decided to see what you all thought about it.
I think so. I have parrots and when I put them in front of a mirror and say "oooh, look how pretty you are!" or "who's that pretty bird?" they seem to respond.
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Old 11-22-2009, 08:47 PM
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LOL That is so funny. I have wondered myself if animals know what they look like, if they go their whole lives never knowing what their facial features are. Having had so many different pets throughout my life, everything from horses to pigs, ducks to hamsters, rabbits, cows, dogs, cats etc I do know that they have incredible love for one another and kindness much more so then man. The question is not can they think as we do, the question is can they suffer and feel pain and joy and that of course is yes.
Originally Posted by Fat Freddy View Post
Of course animals have self recognition.

When your dog licks his butt, who's butt do you suppose he thinks it is?
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:31 AM
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As I was reading I had a few thoughts pertaining to this. In my belief some animals are smarter then others. I also believe an individual animal can be smarter then another of the same breed. My dogs easily recognize "Mine", so therefore why would they not recognize "Me"?
I admit I have not read all of the scientific theories on this, but then I do not give credence to every scientific theory After reading several books ( Douglas Adams a favorite) Maybe the lab mice really are testing the scientists!

Someone wrote
"Perhaps animals did not evolve to naturally recognize mirror images - and mirror images are our guideline for self-recognition. Perhaps it's only a skill that is learned if specifically taught......?"

I couldn’t help but think… there was a time when man didn’t recognize himself in a mirror either. This did not mean he had no sense of self, only that he had never before seen his reflection.
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Old 11-24-2009, 06:41 AM
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I believe they do, and here is why,

When I adopted my first dog Johnny, I was at the bathroom sink where there is a large mirror, he stood up on his hind legs with his front paws on the counter and saw the dog in the mirror. He started barking angrily at the 'other dog'. So I held him on to him so he couldn't get down and could continue to see the reflection and I pointed to myself and then to my reflection in the mirror and kept doing that back and forth and saying, mommy, mommy. Then I pointed to Johnny and then to his reflection in the mirror over and over saying Johnny, Johnny. I went back and forth between the two of us a couple of times and he seemed to understand. A while later I saw him sitting on the bed where he woud be able to get a view of himself in the mirror that sits over the dresser. He would sit there for the longest time just looking at his reflection and moving his head side to side, up and down, etc, like he was watching and noticing that his reflection did exactly what he did. He did this on and off for months. I am certain he knew it was him because he truly understood that when I stood in front of the mirror, it was my reflection he saw and not a 'mommy lookalike'. Now he doesn't bother with the mirror anymore and I agree with the poster who said they just get bored with it. But I definatly think that if taught, they do understand that it is them in the mirror.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:02 AM
Location: Northern Va. from N.J.
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Excellent article on dolphins, they like us are have self awareness.

Why dolphins are deep thinkers | Science | The Guardian
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:45 AM
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
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If you will tolerate some non-scientific, inductive reasoning then I would assert that it is easier for me to accept that dogs have a concept of self than it is for me to accept otherwise.

I think that the "remorseful dog" act is a pretty good example. Have you ever seen a dog who has misbehaved while his human was away sulk to his kennel and pout pathetically upon the human's return? If a dog can recognize and understand that it has performed an action that is prohibited by its master, anticipate that its master will find evidence of said performance and then behave in a manner that outwardly expresses an emotion like remorse or shame, then the dog must have a concept of "I". I have broken the rules and I have disappointed my master and I feel ashamed (or even if it is I may not get punished if I look pathetic or "please don't be mad at ME").

I honestly don't think it's that surprising and if the idea of self-awareness in other animals seems really profound then you may be holding humans in too high of a regard. We certainly do a lot of things that other animals can not do, but we don't have the patent on everything beyond instinct. I'm sure that a whole host of social animals have a concept of "I", whether or not they recognize a reflection of themselves. Recognizing a reflection as yourself is, to me, indicative of higher order abstract processes but the absence of that ability doesn't rule out a concept of self as far as I can tell.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:50 AM
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I believe we humans give ourselves way too much credit and not nearly enough for the intelligence of other living creatures.

Each species is unique, but so much more intelligent and perceptive, in a manner that is unique for that species, than many humans give them credit for.

Humans may never show in a scientific, repeatable study the answers we humans ask because, well, that's just so human. Tell me your rescued pets that were on deaths door before you found them and saved their lives don't know you saved their life. They know, and I bet all of you know exactly what I mean. We just won't be able to show it scientifically.

I don't know if cats or dogs recognize themselves in the mirror, but LOL, I bet they have never wondered if I recognize myself. (no offense to the OP)
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:30 PM
Location: Subarctic Mountain Climate in England
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Neither of our cats have ever "noticed" themselves in the mirror however much I've tried to make their reflections obvious to them.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:40 AM
Location: California
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Interesting topic. I don't have any deep thoughts to add but one of my cats likes to be held in front of the mirror so she can see our reflections. And my dog will make eye contact with me through our reflections. Hmm...now I want to try giving my dog a hand signal in the mirror, I wonder if she would obey it? Unfortunately the only signal she knows really well is "speak" and I don't think my neighbors would appreciate it at midnight. If I remember tomorrow I'll try it out.
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:47 PM
Location: Northern Va. from N.J.
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Warning this is 55 minutes long but well worth the watch

Thomas I. White - In Defense of Dolphins | Free Lecture | Forum Network from PBS and NPR
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