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Author Topic: What language to animals think in?  (Read 5876 times)

Jamie Engelbrecht

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What language to animals think in?
« on: 24/10/2011 02:30:05 »
Jamie Engelbrecht  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Love your show on radio 702.  

I have a question that has been bugging me, if we think in our mother tongue language, how do animals think?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 24/10/2011 02:30:05 by _system »


 

Offline Don_1

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What language to animals think in?
« Reply #1 on: 07/11/2011 17:36:17 »
I suppose the question must be asked first, Do animals think?

There must be some form of reasoning ability, but do they simply act on that reasoning or do they, as we might, mull it over in their heads?

Then the question is, does stored memory or thinking actually require a language?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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What language to animals think in?
« Reply #2 on: 07/11/2011 20:46:43 »
If we thought in our mother tongue, what would we do before we learned it.
This sort of question has, I think, been asked before and, in  my opinion, answered.
We don't think in language, or at least, we don't always thing in language.
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=33220.msg317959#msg317959
 

Offline Airthumbs

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What language to animals think in?
« Reply #3 on: 08/11/2011 00:37:09 »
When you are hungry something stimulates you to think "oo I feel hungry"  You think this in words after you thought it in something else entirely.

My cats think.  However as language for them is essentially not the primary tool of communication I suspect that animals probably think in smell and images.  An animal is going to get hungry, what does it think?  Maybe the smell of food or an image of food is what they use to trigger the motivation to go and find food.

Unless we find a way to communicate directly with animals we will never know.  Animals can be trained to let us know when they are hungry but we cannot ask them what they see, smell, or think when they get hungry.  One day.......
 

Offline CliffordK

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What language to animals think in?
« Reply #4 on: 08/11/2011 04:31:14 »
Chimps have been taught a rudimentary form of language, and seem to be able to express some thoughts in language. 

Dogs, and other animals, of course, can learn to respond to human verbal commands, but I'm not sure how they represent the words they've learned.  Dogs certainly can figure out how to do complex tasks like opening doors, even if not specifically trained to do so.  Such a task, though, wouldn't require language.  People certainly don't think about language when turning a door knob...  unless it is stuck.

I don't believe the equivalent of Broca's regions and Wernicke's regions have been isolated in animals, but they would be most interesting if found in animals.
 

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What language to animals think in?
« Reply #4 on: 08/11/2011 04:31:14 »

 

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