Do Pets Recognize Themselves in their Reflection?

The ability to be self-aware is shown by the ability to recognize that the person staring back at you from the mirror is you. To know whether animals have the same ability, they have to pass the “mirror test,” coined by Gordon Galoup.

The apes, elephants, magpies, and dolphins are said to have this ability, as do humans. Human babies are said to gain this ability at around eighteen to twenty-four months. The topic hits a questionable end when pets are tested.

The dog seems not to recognize the reflection as his own, because anything that doesn’t smell is nonexistent in the dog-world. However, the pets stare at themselves in the mirror. The photos show cats, dogs, and rabbits staring at their reflections.

Recognizing one’s reflection is not inborn, but an ability that develops with time. It requires a particular level of conscious intelligence. Many scientists are skeptical of self-awareness being matched with the “mirror test.” Just because an animal cannot recognize their reflection does not mean they are not aware of themselves.

Psychology holds the view that animals cannot be placed on the same scale of intelligence with humans. How they perceive the world around them differs from how we do it. For example, the dog senses the world around them through smell.

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