University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

ECOM Speaker Series - Victoria Braithwaite & Paula Droege

Friday, March 24, 2017
4:00pm – 6:00pm

Storrs Campus
Laurel Hall 201

Paula Droege (Philosophy, Penn State) & Victoria Braithwaite (Fisheries and Biology, Penn State) will give a talk to the ECOM Research Group.

Title: "Beyond Analogy: Understanding Pain in Animals"

Abstract: Pain is an enigma, we all know what it is, but nobody other than you can experience the pain you feel. Because animals cannot tell us their experiences, it is difficult to understand whether they experience pain and if they do, how they process it. To address this problem, we need to consider the mechanisms that underlie pain, and then investigate the capacity for these kinds of process to occur in different animals. Constructing lists of attributes that are normally associated with human pain – cognitive bias, plasticity of nociceptive response, long-term learning – is inadequate without a theory that shows how these attributes demonstrate the capacity for conscious pain. We believe the affective aspect of pain, the conscious feeling of aversion, is central to concerns about animal pain and welfare. While dissociable from the sensory aspect of pain, both are normally interconnected and adaptive. In our view, the felt emotion of pain aids the animal in flexibly responding to its environment and situations involving pain. Consciousness is necessary to determine a situation-appropriate response under novel conditions; to attend to and select relevant stimuli; and to tailor actions in pursuit of goals.


Nathan Kellen,

Expression, Communication, and the Origins of Meaning Research G (primary), Cognitive Science Program, Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Philosophy Department, UConn Master Calendar

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