Self-Recognition and Self-Awareness in Animals: Complications and Reflections

Monday, July 10th, 2023
Robert Mitchell

Center for Advanced Study
Levis Faculty Center, Room 210
919 W. Illinois, Urbana

Event Description

Watch the video here

A variety of measures have examined whether animals have selves, and what kinds of selves they might be. The most commonly mentioned measures are tests involving mirror self-recognition. Professor Mitchell will discuss the various animals that have been tested via mirrors as well as other measures of the self in animals, focusing on the sensorial basis of self-perception. The findings from various tests of self-recognition and self-awareness are more complicated than their usual presentation indicates, and he hopes to engage listeners with these complications.

Robert Mitchell

Robert W. Mitchell, Ph.D., is Foundation Professor of Psychology and Animal Studies at Eastern Kentucky University. He created the Animal Studies undergraduate major, the first of its kind, at EKU in 2010. He has studied diverse species: dolphins, apes, monkeys, sea lions, dogs, and humans. His edited books examine deception, pretending, imagination, self-recognition, anthropomorphism, and spatial cognition in relation to animals and children. Other publications include a monograph on the history of psychological studies of great apes, as well as articles and book chapters on the psychology of animals, human-animal interaction, children’s symbol use and psychological understanding, and diverse aspects of human sexuality. He serves as a managing editor for Society & Animals, is on the board of editors for several journals including Interaction Studies, and is editor of the University of Georgia Animal Voices/Animal Worlds book series.