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-   -   Does your dog or cat have conscious thought? (http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86013)

larryace 01-15-2012 07:41 PM

Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
I've always wondered this. Are they self aware? It seems to me they must be to some extent anyway. If humans are 100% self aware I wonder what percentage your pets are. Or Sticks lol. (Bam! JK dog!) My cat gets mad when he doesn't like his food, and shows other signs of conscious thought. Other times he seems oblivious. I would love to know how much they experience, or not.

GRUNTERSDAD 01-15-2012 08:20 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
My understanding of animals like this is that they can learn and react but do not think.
I remember a guy by the name of Pavlov ringing a bell and feeding his dogs, then just ringing the bell and they would salivate. But thought, not to my learning. I'm sure all of the dog and cat owners will disagree. But don't confuse reaction to stimulus and inherent activity to thought.

iontheable 01-15-2012 08:49 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larryace (Post 943142)
I've always wondered this. Are they self aware? It seems to me they must be to some extent anyway. If humans are 100% self aware I wonder what percentage your pets are. Or Sticks lol. (Bam! JK dog!) My cat gets mad when he doesn't like his food, and shows other signs of conscious thought. Other times he seems oblivious. I would love to know how much they experience, or not.

Not to nit-pick, but I do not believe humans are 100% self aware.

Hell, many people go through life never waking up, for even one day.

mediocrefunkybeat 01-15-2012 08:51 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD (Post 943157)
My understanding of animals like this is that they can learn and react but do not think.
I remember a guy by the name of Pavlov ringing a bell and feeding his dogs, then just ringing the bell and they would salivate. But thought, not to my learning. I'm sure all of the dog and cat owners will disagree. But don't confuse reaction to stimulus and inherent activity to thought.

I don't know. My folks' Labradors are quite intelligent when it comes to food...

eddiehimself 01-15-2012 08:52 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by iontheable (Post 943168)
Not to nit-pick, but I do not believe humans are 100% self aware.

Hell, many people go through life never waking up, for even one day.

How can you be so sure of that? Have you ever been in their position?

GRUNTERSDAD 01-15-2012 08:53 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat (Post 943171)
I don't know. My folks' Labradors are quite intelligent when it comes to food...

They can be very intelligent through learning but does not mean they think.

iontheable 01-15-2012 10:04 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by eddiehimself (Post 943172)
How can you be so sure of that? Have you ever been in their position?

Merely an observation. And to be clear I said, 'I believe" and I stand by that.

People have beliefs, in many different things. I just happen to believe that most people don't understand what they are doing day to day. This argument could go on and on, but I figured so when I first made the statement.

Midnite Zephyr 01-15-2012 10:26 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Interesting question,

You can always just ask Mishka the Talking Husky,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=R7bj-RZRpMg

and then there's the Talking Horse,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBaxRYGtrkI

but that's an entirely different subject altogether.

Pollyanna 01-16-2012 12:28 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
A little story. I was taking the family dog for a walk in the large college grounds nearby. This mainly consists of two things - playing fetch and sniffing tours (where I give my arm a break).

Sometimes she gets caught up and I have to call her to come. On this occasion she was rolling on the ground. Then she'd get up and hurl herself back on to the ground for another roll. She was so absorbed I couldn't get her to come to me.

So I walked to her. I realised to my disgust that she had found a dead bird and she was rolling on it over and over. I said "Zara, get up! Rolling on a bird! What sort of damn fool thing is that to do!".

That got me thinking - what got into her? The pat answer would be "to mask her scent for hunting" but she never hunts. It's not a big deal to her. Then it struck me - this was about dog gossip!

Here's how I think it goes ....

She found a dead bird, no doubt a pretty cool thing in the dog world, given that dogs are both hunters and scavengers. So she gets a good dose of the scent on her. Then, when she next comes across another dog that scent is like her saying "I saw dead bird!". Then the dog would sniff and go "Wow! You saw dead bird! You cool dog!". I expect a few more sniffs would establish the rough location of the bird.

I'm pretty confident of this. Her next interaction with a dog (and wasn't she keen to show off her special smell) definitely focused on the smell on her back.

Yep, they have conscious thought, probably roughly on the level of humans before their second birthday. Since dad's dementia has increased I find that dealing with him and the dog to be strikingly similar. It's all about basic needs with a few quirky little wants.

I agree with ionthetable that many humans don't seem too flash at conscious thought but are competent at parroting what they read in the tabloids and hear on talkback radio.

bobdadruma 01-16-2012 12:35 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Yes, all living things have conscious thought at some level.

GRUNTERSDAD 01-16-2012 12:45 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Even amoebas. they are living???

bobdadruma 01-16-2012 12:48 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Yes, even amoebas, Thought is relative to the organism.

GRUNTERSDAD 01-16-2012 12:55 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Well you can read this and make up your own mind, but mine tells me animals react and learn but do not think. I will let you have your opinion.


http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consciousness-animal/

bermuda 01-16-2012 12:58 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
If by conscious thought, you mean emotions, dogs definitely possess them. Or at least every dog I've owned or know gets mad, feels sad, gets confused, feels joy and excitement, or even shame. That's why they're such great companions, they mirror so much of what humans feel.

Bermuda

iontheable 01-16-2012 01:04 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pollyanna (Post 943280)
A little story. I was taking the family dog for a walk in the large college grounds nearby. This mainly consists of two things - playing fetch and sniffing tours (where I give my arm a break).

Sometimes she gets caught up and I have to call her to come. On this occasion she was rolling on the ground. Then she'd get up and hurl herself back on to the ground for another roll. She was so absorbed I couldn't get her to come to me.

So I walked to her. I realised to my disgust that she had found a dead bird and she was rolling on it over and over. I said "Zara, get up! Rolling on a bird! What sort of damn fool thing is that to do!".

That got me thinking - what got into her? The pat answer would be "to mask her scent for hunting" but she never hunts. It's not a big deal to her. Then it struck me - this was about dog gossip!

Here's how I think it goes ....

She found a dead bird, no doubt a pretty cool thing in the dog world, given that dogs are both hunters and scavengers. So she gets a good dose of the scent on her. Then, when she next comes across another dog that scent is like her saying "I saw dead bird!". Then the dog would sniff and go "Wow! You saw dead bird! You cool dog!". I expect a few more sniffs would establish the rough location of the bird.

I'm pretty confident of this. Her next interaction with a dog (and wasn't she keen to show off her special smell) definitely focused on the smell on her back.

Yep, they have conscious thought, probably roughly on the level of humans before their second birthday. Since dad's dementia has increased I find that dealing with him and the dog to be strikingly similar. It's all about basic needs with a few quirky little wants.

I agree with ionthetable that many humans don't seem too flash at conscious thought but are competent at parroting what they read in the tabloids and hear on talkback radio.

"Ionthetable" haha preferably pine ")

Anyhow, that's a really interesting observation Polly. Honestly, the thought of whether or not other creatures are concious doesn't fascinate me too much. But that doesnt mean I dont enjoy reading recounts of situations, such as the one you've presented.

On that note, I've observed many humans 'rolling around on a dead bird, just to satisfy their surrounding peers'

GRUNTERSDAD 01-16-2012 01:29 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bermuda (Post 943293)
If by conscious thought, you mean emotions, dogs definitely possess them. Or at least every dog I've owned or know gets mad, feels sad, gets confused, feels joy and excitement, or even shame. That's why they're such great companions, they mirror so much of what humans feel.

Bermuda

Emotions are just that. Thought is a reasoning process.

Pollyanna 01-16-2012 01:50 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by iontheable (Post 943294)
"Ionthetable" haha preferably pine ")

Anyhow, that's a really interesting observation Polly. Honestly, the thought of whether or not other creatures are concious doesn't fascinate me too much. But that doesnt mean I dont enjoy reading recounts of situations, such as the one you've presented.

On that note, I've observed many humans 'rolling around on a dead bird, just to satisfy their surrounding peers'

Ion the Table ... has a ring to it, dunnit?

Yeah, there I think they do have conscious thought - it's all a matter of degree. They are just more present moment - they don't seem able to conceptualise, recall and project into the future as we do but they definitely think and strategise in a limited way in the present moment.

They see and understand the patterns of activity around them and adapt to them just as we do. It's beyond just classical conditioning.

If all animals have no conscious thought then why do they have differing levels of intelligence. What is the cognition difference between a dog and, say, a beetle? It's as profound as the difference between a human and a dog, maybe more so.

C'mon GD, this is for you ... put up yer dukes :)

GRUNTERSDAD 01-16-2012 02:08 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
"They see and understand the patterns of activity around them and adapt to them just as we do. It's beyond just classical conditioning."

Adapt is the same as react. Again they can learn and have memory. If they see the same thing twice they will probably react the same way twice.

They have different levels of intelligence because they learn at different rates and retain different levels. Same as humans. Rats learn to rum mazes thru repetition. They use different signals to remember such as color, smell, sounds etc.

Human twins have been separated and although they have the same DNA, same ability to learn genetically, they learn at different rates depending on experiences. What separates us from the others is the ability to learn to think and have thought. There may be a fine line between cognitive thought and learning but humans that have been injured are said to be in a "vegetative state" This is harsh but they have lost their reasoning skills. As I said this is my opinion from my education classes, psychology and sociology classes. Feel free to develop your own opinion. You do have those reasoning skills.

sticks4drums 01-16-2012 02:49 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Have we really run out of drum topics. I say buy the Saturns! :)

toddy 01-16-2012 03:19 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
This is some proper deep stuff

Pollyanna 01-16-2012 03:43 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
GD, there's some interesting things when we try to parse conscious and instinctive, in the same way as it's hard to parse life and non-life (eg. viruses).

Animals think but not abstractly.

Now look at music. We could say that animals can't play music (though there's a lot of evidence that they can enjoy it).

But humans can't sing a bird's or a whale's song ... although we can record the songs and release them as a new age meditation aid - albeit with no credit or royalties for the composers!

Or how about this chimp's classy Cecil Taylor tribute? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh1HMm4pOwg

bermuda 01-16-2012 04:22 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD (Post 943308)
Emotions are just that. Thought is a reasoning process.

I've had dogs that seem to make decisions, or at least they try to exercise their will until I make enough demands. So I say dogs can reason, though they're not always reasonable.

Bermuda

Typo 01-16-2012 05:18 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Animals are not self-aware. They don't understand the concept of a self, or even know what a concept is. Animals do not reason; they are like computers. They take in data and follow a set of instructions (instincts). They react to something based on whether it gives them pleasure or pain.

There are no levels of self-awareness: either you are, or you aren't.

Pollyanna 01-16-2012 06:47 AM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Typo (Post 943411)
Animals do not reason; they are like computers. They take in data and follow a set of instructions (instincts). They react to something based on whether it gives them pleasure or pain.

There are no levels of self-awareness: either you are, or you aren't.

I agree with this as long as you include humans. Pretty well everything people do relates to security, power / status, sex / passing on genes and hedonistic pleasure ... just that we do it in a more fancy, roundabout way.

GRUNTERSDAD 01-16-2012 01:59 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bermuda (Post 943373)
I've had dogs that seem to make decisions, or at least they try to exercise their will until I make enough demands. So I say dogs can reason, though they're not always reasonable.

Bermuda


This from Wikipedia. Only an excerpt but again there is nothing definitive since they can't speak.

While humans have had differing views of animal emotion, the scientific examination of animal emotion has led to little information beyond a recognition that animals have the capacity for pain and fear, and such responses as are needed for survival

Pollyanna 01-16-2012 02:08 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD (Post 943536)
This from Wikipedia. Only an excerpt but again there is nothing definitive since they can't speak.

While humans have had differing views of animal emotion, the scientific examination of animal emotion has led to little information beyond a recognition that animals have the capacity for pain and fear, and such responses as are needed for survival

And happiness, affection, playfulness, expectancy, sulking ... pretty well anything a toddler can throw at you.

Plenty of pet owners will agree with this and we're not all anthropomorphising.

aydee 01-16-2012 02:15 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
ah, the arrogance of mankind never seizes to amaze me.

...

Pollyanna 01-16-2012 02:34 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by aydee (Post 943540)
... seizes to amaze me.

A bit off topic but ... Abe, is this some clever pun I'm missing? Or just a classic phonetic muso typo? :)

aydee 01-16-2012 03:02 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pollyanna (Post 943546)
A bit off topic but ... Abe, is this some clever pun I'm missing? Or just a classic phonetic muso typo? :)

I think its dyslexia going polyrhythmic..

thanks for the correction- "ceases"

..

keep it simple 01-16-2012 03:25 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sticks4drums (Post 943336)
Have we really run out of drum topics. I say buy the Saturns! :)

Nah mate, dog of a drum kit ;)

sticks4drums 01-16-2012 03:49 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by keep it simple (Post 943558)
Nah mate, dog of a drum kit ;)

Top Dog actually! :)

Midnite Zephyr 01-16-2012 04:05 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
The difference is, our thoughts bring shame. That's why we needed fig leaves, then robes to hide ourselves from our own thoughts. When you start to see dolphins swimming around with skirts on (or apes for that matter), then we can start to worry.

IMO, brains are brains and I don't think they function all that different from one another. Not sure why our brains are so much bigger, but it certainly has its advantages.

keep it simple 01-16-2012 06:04 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pollyanna (Post 943315)
They are just more present moment - they don't seem able to conceptualise, recall and project into the future as we do but they definitely think and strategise in a limited way in the present moment.

They see and understand the patterns of activity around them and adapt to them just as we do. It's beyond just classical conditioning.

Although I agree Pol, that dogs are centred mainly on the moment, I certainly think they remember things from the past, apply them to the present, &, through recognition of patterns, project into the future, at least as far as the confines of a day. A simple example of a dog remembering that a family member comes home at a certain time. That's not instinct. Of course, you can go as deeply into this as you want, but I do have examples by way of personal experience where one of my dogs has acted in a way that can only mean it's weighed up the facts, & taken a decision to act outside of habit or instinct.

caddywumpus 01-16-2012 06:13 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sticks4drums (Post 943336)
Have we really run out of drum topics. I say buy the Saturns! :)

You're right! Let's talk about Saturns instead of drums...

sticks4drums 01-16-2012 06:15 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by caddywumpus (Post 943636)
You're right! Let's talk about Saturns instead of drums...

+1 for Caddy. :) He came up with something funny.

GRUNTERSDAD 01-16-2012 06:32 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by keep it simple (Post 943633)
Although I agree Pol, that dogs are centred mainly on the moment, I certainly think they remember things from the past, apply them to the present, &, through recognition of patterns, project into the future, at least as far as the confines of a day. A simple example of a dog remembering that a family member comes home at a certain time. That's not instinct. Of course, you can go as deeply into this as you want, but I do have examples by way of personal experience where one of my dogs has acted in a way that can only mean it's weighed up the facts, & taken a decision to act outside of habit or instinct.


Agreed. Habits are learned. Acting to someone coming home is learned. They do have memory.which they use through the recognition of patterns. But this again is just a reaction.

Typo 01-16-2012 06:56 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by keep it simple (Post 943633)
Although I agree Pol, that dogs are centred mainly on the moment, I certainly think they remember things from the past, apply them to the present, &, through recognition of patterns, project into the future, at least as far as the confines of a day. A simple example of a dog remembering that a family member comes home at a certain time. That's not instinct. Of course, you can go as deeply into this as you want, but I do have examples by way of personal experience where one of my dogs has acted in a way that can only mean it's weighed up the facts, & taken a decision to act outside of habit or instinct.

This is simple association. Over time, the dog associates someone coming home on a regular basis to how light it is outside, or to how hungry it is. The dog seems to be happy because it associates the arrival of this person to food, or petting, or something else that gives it pleasure.

sticks4drums 01-16-2012 07:09 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Can we talk about cat's. I find them much more capable of independent thought. They do what they want to do, not just what they are told.

larryace 01-16-2012 07:58 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
How about this, between cats and dogs, which are more self aware? I just don't know. I wish there was a way to output a cats brain pattern and input it into a human brain.

The result would probably be a strong urge to move to Canada, buy too many drums, and come up with a logo for yourself.

Bam!

sticks4drums 01-16-2012 08:06 PM

Re: Does your dog or cat have conscious thought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larryace (Post 943707)
How about this, between cats and dogs, which are more self aware? I just don't know. I wish there was a way to output a cats brain pattern and input it into a human brain.

The result would probably be a strong urge to move to Canada, buy too many drums, and come up with a logo for yourself.

Bam!

Ohhhh Yaaaaa Ehhhhhh! I love my life. :)


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