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Fish feelings?


Gestaltgal
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I'm not sure if fish have feelings but I do know that they feel basic things like fear or pain. I watched a documentary called "Seaspiracy" and they showed how fish will feel pain and things like that. I've also noticed that whenever you stick in a net they swim away from it. That's a basic form of fear, if they didn't have fear, they'd just swim right into the net (although some fish do that).

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I believe that fish, along with all other animals, have feelings and emotions. Maybe not to the level of more intelligent animals like mammals or birds, but definitely at least to a degree. When they play, it is an expression of happiness. When they suddenly burst out in an aggressive manner, they might be angry. When they sit in a corner and hide, they are almost certainly stressed or fearful. This is why I believe that fish do experience feelings and express emotion. Maybe I am anthropomorphizing them a little too much, but this is my outlook!

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I guess it depends on how you choose to define feelings.  The Archangefish in my community tank will force new angelfish into hiding until the hierarchy is established.  The SAEs and the danios play tag.  The tetras will occasionally swim into the output from HOB and be swept away, only to return and do it again.

The barbs know that at feeding time I open the lid on the left side.  If I open the lid on the right side, or feed the community tank first, I don't think I hurt their feelings.

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Animals seem to have little (no) ability to imagine or reminisce, that is, "mental time travel". As far as we know, they won't regret nor hope. (Many may recall or anticipate.) Therefore, many aspects of emotion that we are familiar with are simply unavailable. We dwell an awful lot in the past and in the future!

While it is probably impossible to know (or even describe?) how animals feel, I am convinced that there are certain limitations to the range and depths that are reasonable to assume.

One way to talk about this is to distinguish between affect and feeling / emotion. I think that will make things a bit clearer. Affect being a hard-wired "biological" mechanism. 

 

Edited by darkG
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