Many say that emotions are what make one human. People frown, smile, laugh, cry, shout, smug, shrug, roll their eyes, and raise their eyebrows. People express emotions almost as frequently as they feel them.
However, people forget to note that animals too have emotions. Many of these emotions are the same human emotions you feel. And there must be something else that makes human emotions different than animal emotions the ability to choose to express emotions and the range of emotions humans have are what make humans, humans.
Of course, peoples emotions are expressed differently than animal emotions. Animal expressions are limited by their biological build. Take dogs, for example. Dogs wag their tails, run around, and jump around to express joy and excitement. They bark and show their fangs when they are angry; they spit out food in disgust; and they cry out in pain. Some of these reactions are similar to how humans react but some are not humans cannot wag tails simply because they have no tails or dogs cannot curse because they cannot speak. Humans also have the ability to control the expression of their emotions. They may choose to keep the emotion to themselves whereas dogs will find it hard to rein in their feelings.
In the illustration above, humans and dogs share almost the same emotions. This is because humans and dogs are both mammals. Research suggests that the list of emotions that dogs have are similar to the emotions that a 2-year-old toddler has. This list of emotions includes happiness, excitement, disgust, fear, anger, distress, and love. It is important to note, however, that these emotions will be all that a dog can have in its entire lifetime.
This means that pride, shame, and guilt categorized as social emotions are not present to animals. To illustrate, a 10-year-old girl will feel ashamed if you dress her up as a yellow duck in a princess-themed birthday party. On the other hand, a dog will not feel ashamed if you dress it as a pig or a princess when you bring it to the groomers. As another example, a child feels guilt when he knows he did something wrong based on the morals and values he is taught. On the contrary, a dog will not feel any guilt if it ruined the table leg. It may feel fearful of its owner, however, if he was scolded or hit. Therefore, its actions are borne out of fear and not guilt.
The similarities of human and animal emotions are limited to certain types of feelings. As listed above, animals will only have emotions that are commensurate to how many humans have during their toddler years. Thus, the broadness of the range of emotions is what makes humans, humans.
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