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Gallup was a new professor at Tulane University in Louisiana, where he had access to the chimps and gorillas at what would later be known as the Tulane National Primate Research Center. The chimpanzees there had been caught as youngsters in Africa and shipped to America, where they were used mainly in biomedical research. By comparison, his experiment was far less invasive. He isolated two chimps in cages, and placed a mirror in each cage for eight hours at a time over 10 days. Through a hole in the wall, Gallup witnessed a shift in the chimps’ behavior. First they treated the reflection like it was another chimp, with a combination of social, sexual, and aggressive gestures. But over time, they started using it to explore their own bodies. “They’d use the mirror to look at the inside of their mouths, to make faces at the mirror, to inspect their genitals, to remove mucous from the corner of their eyes,” Gallup says.
Gallup was sure that the chimps had learned to recognize themselves in the mirror, but he didn’t trust that other researchers would be convinced by his descriptions. So he moved on to phase two of the experiment. He anesthetized the chimps, then painted one eyebrow ridge and the opposite ear tip with a red dye that the chimps wouldn’t be able to feel or smell. If they truly recognized themselves, he thought he knew what would happen: “It seemed pretty obvious that if I saw myself in a mirror with marks on my face, that I’d reach up and inspect those marks.”
That’s exactly what the chimps did. As far as Gallup was concerned, that was proof: “the first experimental demonstration of a self-concept in a subhuman form,” he wrote in the resulting 1970 report in Science. “It was just clear as day,” he remembers. “It didn’t require any statistics. There it was. Bingo.”
originally posted by: andr3w68
a reply to: ATSmediaPRO
So if animals have the capability of self realization (a sense of self), then are they conscious?
This would lead me to believe that yes, they are.
What does this mean?
It means humans are rat bastards for torturing animals daily.
Titus the gorilla is/was more self aware than any chimp. Instead of fighting his son Titus,he tested his familys loyalty. An awareness which goes far beyond a mirror.
originally posted by: Astrocyte
You should read "The Gap" by Thomas Suddendorf for a long conversation of animal abilities.
Theres a parsimonious and liberal way to interpret what apes see in mirrors. But I think we should try to make sense of what apes think - in particular, chimpanzees and bonobos - before we start according to them human like reflective abilities.
Chimps are highly social, but they are not empathic in the sense that they reflect upon the pains of others during the experience an emotion. Their experience - and how they live in the wild - would not support such an interpretation. Instead, chimps, when they see themselves in a mirror, are probably experiencing at a very embodied level that they exist. By embodied I mean Chimps - and other primates with this ability - are aware of themselves as physical agents. This is an important distinction to make. Human beings are aware of themselves ontologically. Meaning, that they reflect upon the contents of their awareness. In cognitive neuroscience, this is called "representing a representation".
In animal behavior, we can refer to 3 basic levels of being. Instinct/Emotion. Social Awareness. And Executive awareness. Reptiles and Amphibians have basic instinct/emotion. Mammals, and in particular, primates, have a higher level social awareness. Social awareness is an "addition" to primal homeostatic emotions i.e. seek food, etc, by adding social behaviors of all sorts. But these behaviors are not engaged in a strictly conscious way. They are mostly anoetic - they occur without forethought. Each member of the troop, or pack, is conditioned by the other; each of their individual behaviours occur in terms of the system they are a part of. They have not developed the brain regions that human beings have - and human beings have the largest brains relative to body size of any creature on this planet - that allows them to put even the contents of their mind under analysis. Although the bulk of human behavior is determined by unconscious processes - just as in animals - we still have this "focus" ability that we can call into action whenever we want to.
When a chimp sees itself in the mirror, it is experiencing something interesting. If you put a sticker on his head without his knowing, he will reach for it when placed in front of a mirror. But there is no reflection upon this reflection. Apes dont have that "existential" level of awareness.