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Psychologists who study humans struggle to agree on a definition of emotion, falling primarily into two camps. Though recent neuroscience advances are beginning to settle this ancient debate, it cannot solve the private-language problem at the heart of inferences about social cognition. This suggests that when we consider the emotional experiences of other species like canines, biological and physiological homologs do not provide enough evidence of emotional experiences similar to those of humans. Secondary complex emotional experiences are even more difficult to attribute to non-humans since such experiences rely, by definition, on social cognition. Given the contextual differences between human-human and canine-human interactions, the communicative function of emotions may also differ in canines.

Author Biography

Lasana T. Harris, a social neuroscientist, explores the biological correlates of person perception. His primary research is on social cognition.