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participation 7

participation 7 - Chris Stanton BIONB 221 Section Th 10:10...

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Chris Stanton October 11, 2007 BIONB 221 Section: Th 10:10 Written Participation 7 Are animals conscious or just non-thinking robots that are “sleepwalking”? The differing ideas surrounding this question have ignited heated debates over whether non-human animals are actually conscious or whether their behavior is the result of simpler mechanisms such as cues or conditioned learning. The evidence provided in this piece supports the idea that animal behavior can be explained by simpler mechanisms like cues, conditioning, trial and error learning, or species specific rules, rather than attributing behavior to consciousness. One such piece of evidence is the study of food rewarded bar pressing rats (Shettleworth 2001) in which the rats learn to press a bar to get its food. This behavior can be explained by a much simpler mechanism rather than attributing the behavior to the rat being conscious about knowing it will get the food when it presses the bar. The pressing of the bar is a conditioned action that produces the food for the rat. Looking at it this way, pressing the bar is the initial cue
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