Do bees have feelings?

August 06, 2011

[T]hese behavioral and neurochemical tests reveal an unexpected dimension of bee cognition. Scientifically, we can say that bees have a persistent state of negative affect that is triggered by agitation, associated with system-wide changes in neurotransmitters and causes clear, measurable cognitive biases.

Can we draw a deeper conclusion than this? For now, no. Short of asking the bees how they're feeling, or probing their minds with a yet un-built emotion-meter, we simply can't know what being a bee feels like. However, Wright and her co-authors leave us with an intriguing plea for consistency, one that nudges us to think clearly on how we regard the minds and emotions of all creatures.

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