CZAAWE Resource Article

My Reflections on Understanding Animal Emotions for Improving the Life of Animals in Zoos
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
2018
Authors 
Publication/Journal 
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Publisher 
ISBN 
1088-8705
Abstract 
Scientists are often reluctant to attribute emotions to nonhuman animals that are similar to human emotions. When the author published her early studies, reviewers prohibited the word fear. Fearful behavior had to be described as agitated. The core emotional systems described by Panksepp may provide a useful framework for people who work hands-on with animals. The core systems are fear, rage, panic (separation distress), seek, lust, nurture, and play. Some scientists who deny that animals have real emotions often fail to review important areas of the literature. The areas that are sometimes left out are the effects of psychiatric medications on animals and genetic influences on differences in animal behavior. In both people and animals, genetics has an influence on both fearfulness and novelty seeking. Visualizing the seven core emotional systems as separate volume controls on a music mixing board may help zoo professionals determine the motivation of both normal and abnormal behavior. It may also help them to design more effective environmental enrichments.