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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Cognition and animal welfare

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Abstract Animals exhibit species‐typical adaptations of behavior and may suffer stress in captivity if they are prevented from performing these patterns of behavior. This article considers whether these particular ‘needs’ rely on cognitive processes or are performed without complex cognition despite their appearance of behavioral complexity. Emotion and cognition in animals are also discussed, particularly whether animals can feel emotions and, if so, what ranges of emotions they might feel. Cognitive capacities that would contribute to suffering include empathy with the suffering of others, memories of negative events and suffering in anticipation of future events. Cognitive bias of individual animals toward positive or negative feelings is related to dominance of the left or right hemisphere, respectively. These biases might be reflected in the animal's preferred limb to pick up food. Hence, limb preference could be a useful measure of cognitive bias. Post‐traumatic stress disorder is a cognitive condition that, it is suggested, might involve dominance of the right hemisphere. This debilitating condition is experience‐dependent and not infrequently seen in animals in captivity. In conclusion, it is argued that there is an obvious need for more research on cognition as it relates to animal welfare and as a basis for changing legislature to protect animals from suffering. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition Psychology > Comparative Psychology Neuroscience > Behavior

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Neuroscience > Behavior
Psychology > Comparative Psychology
Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition

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