Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


Brian Key, Why fish do not feel pain


The question of whether fish can experience pain or any other feelings can only be resolved by neurobiologically targeted experiments. This commentary summarizes why this is essential for resolving scientific debates about consciousness in other animals, and offers specific experiments that need to be done: (i) those that evaluate the rewarding and punishing effects of specific brain regions and systems (for instance, with deep-brain stimulation); (ii) those that evaluate the capacity of animals to regulate their affective states; and (iii) those that have direct implications for human affective feelings, with specific predictions — for instance, the development of new treatments for human affective disorders.

Author Biography

Jaak Panksepp jpanksepp@vetmed.wsu.edu is Professor of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience in College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. His research is devoted to the analysis of the neuroanatomical and neurochemical mechanisms of emotional behaviors (in the emerging fields of affective and social neurosciences), with a focus on understanding how various affective processes are evolutionarily organized in the brain, and looking for linkages to psychiatric disorders and drug addiction. http://ipn.vetmed.wsu.edu/people/faculty-ipn/pankseep-j