Study proves most animals are self-aware

A sense of self has long been thought to be a human’s only characteristic. New experiments and observations of experiments that date as far back as 1950 have convinced Professor Thomas Hills with the University of Warwick’s Department of Psychology and Professor Stephen Butterfill from Warwick’s Department of Philosophy that most animals possess a sense of self. The discovery was reported in the June 15, 2015, edition of the journal Current Zoology.

Mice and other vertebrates were seen to stop at points in a maze that required a decision. The decision making indicates that animals can propose and reject different paths of action. The animals can envision an outcome or a number of outcomes based on a decision before they make the decision. This capacity is a key element of self-awareness.

The researchers found that the areas of the hippocampus in test animals displayed more activity when the animals had to make a decision in a maze. The same areas of the human brain are activated to a greater extent when humans envision the outcome of a choice. The physical evidence substantiates the concept that most animals are self-aware.

The level of self-awareness in animals does not appear to be at the same level of human beings. The research does show that even mice have the basics of self-awareness needed to have a sense of self. The sense of self would assist animals in hunting, foraging, and mating. This is the first known demonstration of physical evidence that indicates that animals have a sense of self.

This article was reposted with the author’s permission from

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