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Stacy Blecher's picture

In class today, someone

In class today, someone questioned whether all organisms are conscious.  We tend to assume that Homo sapiens are far superior to all other animals and living organisms.  However, the article in New York Times Science Times about time in the animal mind eliminates some of the distance we try to place between ourselves and animals.  The article discusses experiments carried out on birds and monkeys in which it was discovered that these animals seem to be capable of remembering the past and also predicting and planning for the future.  Knowing that animals are able to remember, predict and perform various other tasks formerly thought to be exclusive to humans, makes me wonder if animals interpret visual cues in a similar fashion as humans.  Aside from the fact that many animals have a different proportion of cones to rods in their eyes, it is possible that, like humans, visual stimuli are experienced by the eye and subsequently trigger brain activity that ultimately results in the image that is seen.  If this is true, then (figuratively speaking) if a tree falls in the woods and a bird is there to witness it, yes, it makes a sound.

Also, if animals process information in their brains similarly to humans, then they should be equally susceptible to such things as optical illusions.  Even animals that lack cones or have very poor vision should perceive optical illusions because the picture is pieces are put together and processed in the brain, not the eyes.

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