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Experiments suggest that insects have feelings


Emotions are not limited to humans - far from it

For those with a pet it's easy to believe that animals have feelings, but it was only 2012 that scientists agreed that animals are sentient beings. It has been found and proven, for example, that dogs are extremely complex and feel human emotions such as envy. But what about bugs?

First of all, let's talk about the concept of emotion. The universal definition for 'emotion', which is equally applicable in all academic fields (from neuroscience to psychology to philosophy), has been almost impossible to achieve. Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux has already suggested deleting the word "emotion" from the scientific vocabulary.


Yes, insects have emotion!

While there are hundreds of different meanings for emotion, the most universal definition we could come from comes from an article called “emotion, cognition, and behavior”: “… emotions include (but are not limited to) certain expressive behaviors that are associated with internal brain states that we, as humans, subjectively experience as 'feelings'. " Very vague! And it still limits emotions to humans.

Basically, emotions are detected by our brains through neural maps of the body and transmitted to our bodies in the form of feelings. This goes for primordial emotions such as sexual desire as well as more complex and social emotions such as embarrassment.

A fantastic example of insect emotional behavior emerged from a bee experiment.

Emotions influence our perceptions and behavior. Imagine your house has been looted by burglars and you are in shock and very angry. You are so sad that nothing cheers you up, not even your friends. In fact, even your favorite food doesn't look that good.

This is exactly what happens with bees. The bees were placed near a moving fan blade for a minute to simulate a badger attack on the hive and make the bees angry. Then chemicals were thrown in to calm them down, but the technique didn't work very well.

The bees that were shaken by the "invasion" did not react to chemicals that simulated an appetizing smell. In addition, there were significant emotional changes in neurotransmitter levels in shaken bees and alterations in serotonin and dopamine levels. This may explain why fiddling with a hive is not such a good idea: it makes bees mad! And anger is an emotion.

Fly Experiment

A similar experiment was performed with hungry flies. This time the researchers tried to induce primitive fear by casting a shadow over the flies to simulate the presence of an aerial predator - just as humans are afraid to hear a gunshot.

When the false predator was introduced and then removed, anxiety levels potentially increased in hungry flies that completely ignored their food. This suggests that a state of emotion affects behavior.

In a recent experiment with armadillos, scientists showed the ability to empathize with the like. The researchers demonstrated a calm armadillo eventually influenced their teammates, making them calmer and more cheerful.

But this can only be an imitation of behavior, as opposed to a process of correspondence and emotional recognition. When a dog barks - something we interpret as a form of discomfort - it causes other dogs to do the same. Another study has found that this behavior of animals is much closer to something like behavioral imitation than with empathy.

It cannot be said with certainty. There is still much to study, although these early experiments certainly set the foundation for a future where we will recognize that all animals have emotions to some degree. By 1872 Charles Darwin, father of the theory of natural selection and evolution, had stated, "Even insects express anger, terror, jealousy, and love."

(//revistagalileu.globo.com/Ciencia/noticia/2015/07/07/experiencias-sugug-that- insects- have- feelings.html)