Similar to human, animals to have emotions and moods that form the basis of their behaviour

Turns out animals also exhibit behavioural and mood changes much like humans. A new study now shows animals exhibit positive moods when they win and pessimism when they lose, much like humans.

In a review study, conducted by Queen’s University Belfast’s School of Biological Sciences, study authors argue that animals’ assessment of resource value and opponent’s fighting ability contribute to their emotional state, which in turn drive animal behaviour.

 Similar to human, animals to have emotions and moods that form the basis of their behaviour

Scientists say that the mood in animals is adaptively induced by previous experiences.

Study authors suggest that just as depressed or anxious humans are more pessimistic about the future, animals that lose fights are likely to be in a more negative emotional state, more pessimistic about whether they can win and less willing to engage in fights in the future.

According to the lead author of the study Andrew Crump, while it is known that human emotion influences unrelated cognition and behaviour, they have now found that animals that won a contest experienced a more positive mood and expected fewer predators, while animals that lost a contest experienced negative emotions leading to maladaptive behaviour.

He further added that events that bring out emotional responses might influxes virtually any decisions. The mood in animals is adaptively induced by previous experiences. However, the mood is maladaptive if it was induced by some negative incident. As per researchers, in such circumstances, when the emotional basis of the decision is unrelated to the decision itself, they can predict maladaptive decision-making.

According to the statement by the university, the research proposes that the emotion theory may underpin all non-reflexive animal behaviour.

Principal Investigator of the paper Dr Gareth Arnott added that while animal behaviour researchers typically do not currently consider animal emotions in their work, the results of this study show that this may need to be considered as the role of animal’s emotion is crucial in relation to understanding their subsequent behaviour.