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Animals' consciousness and human self-consciousness

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Animal consciousness, self-consciousness, neurosciences, cognitive neuroscience, neurophilosophy

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      Abstract

      Introduction: Consciousness consists of states of sentience, feeling or awareness while awake, not in comma and alive. The current neuroscientific trend suggests the correlation of conscious experience with certain corticothalamic circuits, thus constituting part of the brain function. Animals show signs of consciousness but distinctive human element appears to be self-consciousness, the acute sense of self-awareness. Objectives: Our aim is to clarify whether animals are conscious, and if so, what the level of their consciousness is and what neuronal mechanisms are underlying in what is supposed to be human’s unique feature of consciousness. Methods & Results: A search of the literature in relevant journals (e.g. Nature Neuroscience, American Zoologist) and manually from identified articles’ reference list was conducted. Experiments (including mirror tests, language learning and comprehending tests, exposure to social competition environments, etc.) as well as the given of similarities in neuroanatomical architecture of mammals, behavior and the idea of evolutionary continuity propose that animals are conscious but the level of that remains to be investigated. On the other hand, humans feature, in addition, self-consciousness, being able to perceive and explain their emotions and actions. Conclusion: The claim that animals don’t share the state of consciousness is a remnant of the human’s high belief of being a privileged species amongst others. Nonetheless, the particular characteristic of self-consciousness seems to be exclusively attributed to human kind. However, further research should be made to understand deeply the neuronal background of the enigmatic as it is now features of consciousness and self-consciousness.

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      10.14293/P2199-8442.1.SOP-LIFE.PCZST5.v1

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