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Body and self in dolphins


, : Body and self in dolphins. Consciousness and Cognition 21(1): 526-545

In keeping with recent views of consciousness of self as represented in the body in action, empirical studies are reviewed that demonstrate a bottlenose dolphin s (Tursiops truncatus) conscious awareness of its own body and body parts, implying a representational body image system. Additional work reviewed demonstrates an advanced capability of dolphins for motor imitation of self-produced behaviors and of behaviors of others, including imitation of human actions, supporting hypotheses that dolphins have a sense of agency and ownership of their actions and may implicitly attribute those levels of self-awareness to others. Possibly, a mirror-neuron system, or its functional equivalent to that described in monkeys and humans, may mediate both self-awareness and awareness of others.The sense of self in dolphins is rooted in the body in action. Referential understanding and use of body parts suggests conscious body image. Self- and social-imitation capabilities reveal senses of agency and ownership. Motor imitation may act as a social signal affirming relationships with others. Mirror system, if existing, may support social imitation..

US$19.90

PMID: 22105086

DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2011.10.005


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