09 August 2017

Mirror test

How could dolphins not recognise themselves in a mirror? Each time they jump on a calm sea they see their image reflected below.

The mirror test (also called rouge test) is a rather primitive, anthropocentric and notoriously biased way of testing self-awareness in nonhuman animals. Some dolphin species passed the test, but not passing the mirror test does not prove lack of self-awareness (as shown for dogs, as soon as a smell-based test was designed).

If dolphins were to design a test (likely a sophisticated one based on acoustics) for testing human self-awareness, how many of us would manage to pass it?

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

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