Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


Colin Klein and Andrew B. Barron, Insects have the capacity for subjective experience


Although we are mostly supportive, we point out the strengths and weaknesses of Klein & Barron’s (2016) hypothesis that insects have the most basic form of consciousness. The strengths are in their application of Bjorn Merker’s vertebrate-derived ideas to arthropods, using their deep knowledge of insect brains. The weaknesses involve the controversial aspects of some of Merker’s ideas. We describe how the latter can be modified to strengthen the authors’ case for insect consciousness.

Author Biography

Jon M. Mallatt is Associate Professor at School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University and University of Washington School of Medicine, His research is on the origin of the major animal groups, especially vertebrates and the origin of the vertebrate jaw. He has worked with Todd Feinberg on the origin and nature of consciousness since 2013.


Todd E. Feinberg, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, is internationally recognized as a leading authority on how the neurobiology of the brain creates the individual's sense of identity.