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Are We Really in Anthropodenial?

In: Psychology

Submitted By kiplin999
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Are we really in anthropodenial? I love to watch chimpanzees at the zoo. In fact, no visit to the zoo is complete without a visit to the chimpanzee cage. Moreover, we always joke that visiting the chimpanzees is like visiting our relatives. All joking aside, we do tend to think of chimpanzees as having human characteristics. However, according to Frans De Waal, attributing human emotions to animals has long been seen as a scientific blunder. However, attributing human emotions to animals gives us insight into them and us (Waal, 1). I think that chimpanzees seem to understand things like humans do. I was particularly in awe that Georgia, a chimpanzee can play with people by spraying them with water. Also, I was amazed that Georgia could sense that she should refrain from spraying Waal with water based on Waal’s gestures. I understand that by giving nonhuman animals human characteristics is anthropomorphism; however, I believe that chimpanzees are very intelligent and that they are the closest animals to humans based on evolution. In short, I tend to agree with Waal claim that both humans and chimpanzees behavior can be explained in the same manner that we explain our own behavior—as the result of both a complex and a familiar inner life (Waal, 5). Therefore, it seems that anthropomorphism has a place in the scientific community. Moreover, I think it is worth the risk of overestimating chimpanzee’s mental life because how else are scientific discoveries going to be made. Based on The Monkey in the Mirror video I am convinced that non-human animals do posses human traits. When a chimp saw his reflection in the mirror, he jumped away from it. This behavior seemed to illustrate that chimps and infants might have the same reaction to seeing their reflections in the mirror for the first time. Both infants and chimps might assume that there are another chimps or…...

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