Commentary Type

Open Commentary


Brian Key, Why fish do not feel pain


Failures of behavioural studies to address the question of whether fish feel pain have left scientists arguing on the basis of other criteria, including anatomy. I draw an analogy with a debate concerning the breadth of stimulus-response learning among nonhuman animals and propose an experiment that harks back to one solution to that debate: the devaluation paradigm. By changing the value of a noxious stimulus after training, one can differentiate a directly evoked response from a response to an intermediate representation, the pain.

Author Biography

Robert Ian Bowers ribowers@gmail.com is a postdoctoral researcher in the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University. His research takes a behaviour systems approach to the cognition of animals using a variety of methods, including food conditioning in rats, social learning in humans, sexual conditioning in Coturnix quail, and artificial agents in software environments. http://www.indiana.edu/~abcwest/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.People