Eli5 do animals have an imagination?


Eli5 do animals have an imagination?

In: 4

It depends on what you mean by imagination. Some animals have good problem solving skills and can come up with inventive ways to get what they want. As far as I know though, they cannot come up with an idea that would not reflect reality- they can’t fantasize like we can.

Evidence suggests that animals have an inner experience like we do, where images and feelings are perceived, and basic understanding and problem-solving occur. Limitations that seperate the mental experiences of animals from humans appear centred around abstraction and reflective self-awareness.

For instance, animals dream. We can only guess about the subjects of these dreams. But dreams elicit a range of behavioral responses from animals that apparently correspond with behavioural responses to wakeful experiences (vocalizations, mimicked running, threat responses, etc). Whatever generates an animal’s dreams produces experiences which are convincing enough to cause the animal respond as it would when awake. So even if animals may not share the same intentionality of imagination (the ability to deliberately form and contemplate abstract ideas), they certainly have an inner mental experiences that produce imagery of some kind.