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395124.  Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:46 am Reply with quote

Um, yeah, carelessness on my part

396617.  Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:33 pm Reply with quote

I think I've found the source for the octopus mirror test, but it's a bit shaky. Linky

It was observed (and apparently filmed) behaviour by a (presumably female) E. dofleini (giant Pacific octopus) where a diver held a mirror in front of the octopus and expected it to react as if another octopus had appeared in front of it. Instead, it began exploring behind the mirror. It's a non-conventional implementation of the test, but it may say something interesting.

This behaviour appears to have been observed in S. officinalis (the European cuttlefish) and as cuttlefish are close relatives of octopuses, it's not unreasonable to say that octopuses may be capable of recognising themselves in a mirror. (The implementation in that article involves introducing a filter and thus changing the polarisation on the mirror, meaning the cuttlefish can see it - cephalopods can only see polarisation, not true 'colour'.)

396807.  Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:06 pm Reply with quote

Can I interject here and contend that mere domestic pets such as cats and dogs may also show some degree of awareness of their own reflection. I make this statement based merely on observation and experience rather than having read (and being able to hyperlink) some deeply scientific paper on canine self-awareness experimentation.

My observations deduce that a kitten will often try to play with, attack or run away from its own reflection but after a while, if exposed to the reflection regularly, will simply ignore the 'other' cat. This suggests to me that they have developed an understanding that the other 'cat' is always there, always copying their movements and is not a threat. Introduce a real other cat though and the antics recommence.

Whilst this does not necessarily suggest a real sense of self-reflection (my cats, for example, never use the mirror to inspect their nether parts - if they did they would more than likely never lick them) it does suggest that they come to an understanding about the cat in the mirror.


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