Archive for the ‘Week7_ Memory+Consciousness’ Category

Week 7_Animal Consciousness by Alana Chin

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

People have always debated about the intelligence of animals and whether or not they are “conscious.” Some would argue that animals are just as intelligent. I find that dog-owners especially argue that their dogs “know how to open doors” or “hate vacuum cleaners.” But is this really intelligence or consciousness? First we must define the difference between intelligence and consciousness. I believe that intelligence is based on reasoning, like critical thinking, problem solving, and analysis. Consciousness requires awareness of self, emotion, and feeling. People obviously have both, but do animals?

During lecture, Dr. Siddarth Ramakrishnan spoke about consciousness in animals and presented many different examples. He argued that cephalopods displayed consciousness through their use of camouflage with the background. He said that cephalopods must be conscious to be able to recognize the difference between the color of their surroundings with their own color, the need to change color, and to physically pick and change colors. It is true that this demonstrates awareness of self and problem-solving, but is this really intelligence and consciousness? I personally don’t believe that this necessarily demonstrates consciousness because it demonstrates as much intelligence as natural instincts. There are many instances of animals being born with a certain skill without evidence of learning or acquiring the knowledge. For example, baby sea turtles know immediately after hatching to crawl to the ocean and footprint the exact location of the beach so they can return years later to lay their eggs. Many birds know how to build nests without ever being taught. Giraffes and gazelle already know how to walk immediately upon being born. These instincts show intelligence and skill, but they are innate and aren’t acquired through problem-solving and conscious thought. The octopus knowing how to change colors to match their backgrounds could be just as innate.

Dr. Ramakrishnan represented another example of consciousness with the elephant that reacted to its reflection in a mirror. This reminded me of a youtube video I saw with a dog playing with its reflection for a good three minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEJfT-oB4v4&feature=channel_page. For three minutes, this dog was captivated by its reflection and would run around and wave at it. It doesn’t seem like the dog knew it was itself, because it would try to sneak up on it and end up running into the mirror. This clearly doesn’t demonstrate self-awareness. However, one could argue that this still demonstrates consciousness because the dog tried to surprise the other dog and figure out what was going on. I still think that this could just be instinct as the dog could be reacting to a possible threat and instinctively tried to dissuade this threat. I don’t think these instances where one animal responds to a threat or it interacts with others necessarily demonstrate consciousness. I suppose they are thinking and reasoning, but to me, the main difference is whether or not they can feel. Responding to threats is a mental thought that is genetically ingrained in the brain through natural selection to further the reproduction of the species. However, feeling and emotion are not genetically passed down through natural selection since they don’t have any impact on the survival of the fittest. I think that the most important distinction of consciousness is the ability to feel emotion. And for this reason, I don’t completely believe that animals are conscious. I know some may say otherwise, but as it is still difficult to prove that animals are acting on emotion rather than natural instinct, I must wait until more evidence indicates as such.

-Alana Chin

week7_memory/consciousness; What is consciousness? by Devin Quinlan

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

What is consciousness? Merriam-Webster defines consciousness as “the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself.” Dr. Ramakrishnan defined consciousness as the state of being aware of oneself, especially one’s own image. While both of these definitions mirror the generally accepted idea or feeling of consciousness, there is no generally accepted idea of what causes consciousness. Is it a reaction of molecules inside of the brain, or is there an intangible element, or soul, that governs our self-awareness? Furthermore, should creatures that exhibit the elements of consciousness be treated as “higher beings?” Should they be considered as equals to humans, or do humans possess extra elements that further distinguish them from the rest of the animals?

In Dr. Ramakrishnan’s speech, cephalopods and elephants were cited as examples of animals that exhibit elements of consciousness. According to Dr. Ramakrishnan’s definition of consciousness, a creature needs to be able to see its own body image and be aware of what it should look like. This idea was brought up earlier in the video of Dr. Ramachandran explaining how people with ghost limbs will feel a missing limb being touched. While it wasn’t the solution to the ghost limb problem, Ramachandran explained how people have a certain image of how their body appears without looking at it. (On somewhat of a tangent, the process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is often used to maintain the body’s shape so that you don’t become disfigured as your cells duplicate. It could be that this image of your body is related to which cells are destroyed. An interesting experiment would be to see if altering the self image in the brain (transplanting a foreign brain?) could actually adjust what someone’s body looks like.) This body image is essentially what is required, at least by definition, to be consciousness of oneself. The octopus exhibits this consciousness by blending into its surroundings. In order to effectively do this, the octopus needs to know what it looks like and what its surroundings look like in order to match the colors effectively. Because it knows what it looks like and is aware of its surrounding environment, it must exhibit consciousness by definition. Similarly, the elephant with the white cross drawn on its head tried to scratch it off when it saw itself in the mirror. The elephant realized that the image was of itself and not of another elephant, and furthermore knew that the cross was not part of its body image. Thus, the elephant must be conscious of itself.

Now that we have established what is required to obtain consciousness, what does it mean? Are these animals conscious because of the way that their cells interact in their brain or because they possess a soul? I have always maintained the view that molecular interactions are what cause all feelings, emotions, and ideas, including consciousness. As neuroscientists have continued to understand more and more about the brain, nothing suggests any supernatural forces, and in fact many things that were believed to be supernatural (i.e. religious experiences) have been explained by more in-depth study of the brain. However, the concept of the soul has yet to be verified or refuted, so until evidence is gathered one way or the other, we will never know what it truly means to be conscious of onself.

For now, while we wait for science to figure more out about the brain, we can engage in debate over how these conscious animals should be treated. We can watch animal rights activists battle… anti-animal rights activists and maybe find out a bit more about animal consciousness in the process.

Links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He7Ge7Sogrk
Elephant painting
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7T6ocATAtc

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2003/godonbrain.shtml

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/consciousness

Devin Quinlan

Week 7_ Man like Animal by Christine Vu

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

        Many researchers have been astounded by the similarities between man and animal. In Thursday’s lecture, guest speaker, Siddharth Ramakrishnan, demonstrated his interest in studying memory and consciousness of organisms other than human. He gave various examples that supported the idea that animal’s are quite advanced in memory and consciousness.
        I was particularly fascinated with his references to how octopus, sea corals, and elephants behave. He stated that octopus’ ability to camouflage to particular surroundings is a result of having a conscious. He reasoned that, not only was it a simple awareness, the octopus was able to rationalize what color to change to, depending on the situation. To me, that’s very impressive. Similarly, living sea corals change their appearance, their whole anatomy, in order to be symbiotic to its environment and the creatures alongside. These organisms must have consciousness to base their decisions on what color, what texture, etc. to conform to. Though these creatures lack the brains that we humans have, it’s amazing to witness the adaptations they have developed as a means of survival. Finally, Siddharth introduced the concept of self-identity. He mentioned an experiment in which an elephant was labeled with tape on its face. The elephant was then placed in front of a mirror. As a result, the elephant was able to differentiate his or her real image as opposed to the image projected onto the mirror. The elephant showed awareness that there was something different about its image, probably due to knowledge of how an elephant should look. It’s able to differentiate supports the theory that they have a consciousness. This illustrates that, as humans, we may have underestimated the intellectual ability of various living creatures.
        The counter argument that animals do not have a consciousness can be refuted. Animals may appear to lack a consciousness because they lack experience. In reference to the video shown in discussion: a dog repeatedly attacking a mirror. The animal was confused at the image it saw, It was conscious that there was an image but was unable to self-identify with the image. Dogs often bark when they see themselves in the mirror because of this very reason, they predict that the image is another dog. However, their inability to self-identify with the image does not prove that they lack a consciousnss. It can be attributable to simple ignorance. They were never exposed to a mirror, and as a result, were unaware of the purpose of a mirror. Contrastly, humans are taught the function of mirror, we know that a mirror projects the image that its faced with. And so, when we look at a mirror, we know the reasoning behind what we are seeing. Humans are at an advantage. We appear wiser because our society and environment is designed specifically to cater to our needs. Animals appear unconscious because they are ultimately sheltered.
        Evidence that animals have a consciousness could change the outlook of how we view or treat animals. Many times, we get too comfortable with the idea of being smarter. Our society has apathetically taken on a dictator role above animals. We see them just as “pets” or “experimental subjects” rather than living organisms. The discovery of animals having a consciousness can help us reevaluate the way we treat them. Having a consciousness shows that these living organisms can analyze the various stimuli they encounter. They would be able to analyze particular situations, our actions upon them, and come up with practical reasonings behind them. Therefore, if animals really do have consciousness, it it necessarily that we treat them more like humans. After all, we are not that much different. Animals and humans have the commonality of utilizing memory and consciousness as a means of survival. WIthout these two, we would be a bunch of lifeless cucumbers.

I came across this picture and thought about how consciousness is necessary to be in love.

ducks in love

Week 7 Memory and Consciousness by Mindy Truong

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

This week’s topic of consciousness brought up many things to be discussed including the definition of consciousness itself and comparing and contrasting between the consciousness of humans and animals. Many can argue about what consciousness is and the vague definition that is given for this word. Merriam Webster dictionary gives us five definitions of this word. A keyword that is brought up when reading over the definition of the word consciousness is “awareness.” Humans, we say, have a sense of consciousness and awareness but the question here is do animals also have that same sense.

Siddharth Ramakrishnan discussed the consciousness of animals in his brief presentation. I would agree that humans have a state of being aware of what is happening. Humans are intricate beings and they sense things that are happening and have feelings and emotions. I have always considered that animals do have consciousness and are quite aware of what’s going on around them. Animals sense when they are in danger and although they might not know exactly what the word “love” is, they do have a sense of what it is. This sense of what love is can be seen in animals as the mothers care and nurture their young or as the father looks out for the family. Consciousness the “upper level of mental life” is evident among humans and I also think it is evident in animals as well.

While Siddharth Ramakrishnan was presenting his views on animals consciousness, it brought up things that I witnessed and experienced at the LA Animal Zoo and Botanical Garden just last Wednesday. Visiting about 95% of the animals and spending approximately five to fifteen minutes on each species of animals there, I can see that the animals there are aware of what’s going on. This is especially true in monkeys and apes. The monkeys sense that we were watching them as they climbed from their tree toward the front of the cage and hung on to rails of the cage and stared at us. Watching the gorillas, I saw the mother care for her young as she cuddled her young as it was sleeping while the father gorilla just sat and looked at the crowd as if he was scanning for danger. When the young gorilla woke up, all three of them walked off, mother and young hand in hand and the father walking behind them.

Also Siddharth Ramakrishnan brought up many examples of animals with consciousness such as elephants, whales, octopuses and dolphins. But lets focus on one of his examples. He said that the octopus showed consciousness by camouflaging itself when sensing danger. Many other animals, such as moths and flounders, camouflage themselves in the sign of danger. Even though they might not execute the action of camouflaging as well as octopuses do, these animals still perform them in the sign of danger showing that they are aware and conscious of what is around them. As humans mature we gain more sense of consciousness and I feel like that is also evident in animals.  Humans, without argument, do have a good memory system but so do many animals.  This is especially true of parrots.  The following youtube videos show Einstein and Alex the Parrots’ exercise their usage of memory.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnTT7u5U4Yo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6KvPN_Wt8I

- Mindy Truong

Week 7: Consciousness by Erick Romero

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

This week’s lectures reminded me of a dream I’ve had a few times.  In my dream, I wake up one day and realize that everyone I know has been a fiction of my imagination.  My family, mi friends, even the things I do have all not been real.  So I’ve wondered if my own consciousness is just me and the way I look at the world, or is it ‘really’ what the world is.  This might be confusing, but again, it’s just a dream I’ve had a couple times, which is kind of weird to have the same type of dream more than once.

I think that nobody can really explain what to be conscious is, for many people will have a different perspective, again from their own consciousness.  But we can definitely find patterns and similar things, and study them to better understand our own consciousness.  We as humans always find ourselves ‘alone’ in this world, and try to understand why by contrasting and comparing ourselves to similar things in nature, such as animals.  The intelligence humans possess has made us create wonderful things, from science to art, and we have been able to do all this by being aware of our surroundings and experiences, and making something out of it.  Animals have showed similar patterns in their activities, something that can be classified as intelligence, but more than mere intelligence is involved in these activities, a degree of consciousness is needed. 

Dr. Siddarth Ramakrishnan talked about this degree of consciousness in animals, such as the example of the elephant looking at a mirror and recognizing itself.  This elephant was smart enough to realize that the reflection was him, and was trying to take the white mark off his face.  Not all animals have this level of consciousness.  An example is the chicken, which I have seen personally poke at a mirror thinking it’s a chicken on the other side.  A video of this on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7O11y39SfI.

An example I was reading online about animal consciousness (http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/308650.html) involved a chimpanzee that sees a nut that is hard to crack, but remembers having cracked a similar nut with a rock several days ago that was 80 meters away from the other nut.  In the story, the chimpanzee goes to where the rock was, brings it back to where the nut is and cracks it open.  In these examples, the animals were aware of their surroundings (the mirror, the rock and the nut) and ” thereby respond[ed] to selected features of their environments, thus making them conscious or aware of those features. 1  

So what determines this degree of consciousness?  Is it the size of the brain?  Well, one could think that, because the brain of the elephant is much bigger than a chicken, but small animals have showed consciousness as well.   The example of the mouse that didn’t like cheese anymore because each time it tried to eat it he would get an electric shock shows that the mouse was aware of his surroundings and decided to not try to eat the cheese anymore.  Same is with the octopus that changes color and looks almost invisible next to a plant.  The octopus is aware of its surroundings and knows how to change color to prevent other fish or possible predators from seeing it.  This next video is pretty amazing, showing an octopus moving and changing to 2 different settings in 2 different places (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAGxTsEmGek).

So I think it was pretty interesting that we got to talk about these topics in class, and that we got an expert such as Dr. Siddarth Ramakrishnan to talk a little more about it.

 

1.  Allen, Collin.  Animal Consciousness.  First published Sat Dec 23, 1995; substantive revision Wed Nov 15, 2006.  Accessed at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consciousness-animal/.

Week 7- Memory and Consciousness by Kimberlie Shiao

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Siddharth Ramakrishnan’s lecture on animal consciousness was very interesting. I don’t think I have ever heard this discussion of an animal consciousness before. Usually I read articles about animal intelligence and their ability to recognize themselves in a mirror (a sign of intelligence) but usually animals who don’t display human like intelligence are dismissed as inferior. I like how Ramakrishnan sought to expand our minds beyond such thoughts. I have always been suspicious of dismissing creatures’ complexity and intelligence merely because they are dissimilar to us. Not understanding an animal doesn’t mean there it doesn’t have any significance or intelligence/consciousness (if self-awareness is considered a sign of intelligence) relative to themselves. I liked how Ramakrishnan’s lecture not only emphasized the relativity of intelligence in species, but also the flexibility of the term “consciousness” and “intelligence”. I think it’s rather interesting that we try to apply these terms to things we make, like computers and toys, and many people don’t realize that the general definition already can be applied to so many already existing things in the world. Sometimes we just need to pay attention to things that aren’t about ourselves as a species.

One of the most fascinating things Ramakrishnan mentioned in his lecture were the cephalopods. I think cephalopods get dismissed easily by the public because they aren’t structured like humans, so therefore they don’t have human characteristics like intelligence or self-awareness. But I searched around and found they can actually be pretty smart. For example, there’s one octopus in a German aquarium that learned how to short circuit a light shining into his tank. There are other speculations and claims that octopi (and other cephalopods) are intelligent and conscious. Of course, this argument all hangs on what we define as “intelligent” and “conscious”, which I suppose pulls in linguists into the debate. The fallibility and subjectivity of our definitions is humbling, and I think resistance to letting these terms apply to creatures such as cephalopods is surprising. Maybe this stems from an egotism that humans are the most advanced creatures on the planet. But I don’t think evolution is something that converges to a goal beyond “survival”.

To discuss this week’s topic in more broad terms, I found it really interesting that consciousness could be contrived (i.e. awareness of an amputated limb), much like memories could be. It seems like something almost from a movie like Memento or The Matrix, where reality, existence, and truth became rather subjective. I find it interesting how art sometimes seems like a prophet of the discoveries science finds. Maybe art and science are just approaching the truth (but never reaching it- truth will always be distorted and subjective because of our definitions) from two opposite sides.

bonus link about elephants mourning their dead

-Kimberlie Shiao

Week 7 Animal Art by Adriana Rosas

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Is art really an art if an animal’s life at risk? This question lingered in my mind for quite some time after discussion on Tuesday. I am torn by the fact that yes, art is an art if the artist say it is, but to what extent? Is there a line that artists should not be allowed to cross or rather should artists have some sort of restrictions?

My first reaction to all of these questions was very conservative as I thought of the lives of these poor little animals at risk for their lives. The example that was brought up in discussion about an artist placing goldfish in a blender really bothered me and caused me to think that yes, there should definitely be some kinds of restrictions on art that involve the lives of animals. This artist had a display where the focus of his masterpiece was a blender filled with live goldfish, where any individual was allowed to turn it on and grind-up the little fish at their command. I was disturbed by the fact that because this artist said it was a piece of art, it most definitely was considered to be a piece of art no matter how bizarre or how disgusting it was.

goldie4

I also thought about the “GFB Bunny”, or the green fluorescent protein bunny, created by Eduardo Kac. His transgenic artwork created this rabbit from “an art form based on the use of genetic engineering to transfer natural or synthetic genes to an organism, to create unique living beings.” Althought Kac’s intent was to create art, I wonder whether it is morally right and necessary to genetically engineer animals only in the sake of art.

alba_green_fontaine2

Like I mentioned briefly before, my initial response to this controversy was conservative in the sense that no, it is not morally right to create transgenic artwork. However, someone in discussion brought up the fact that if animals are genetically altered on a daily basis in the name of science, then why should altering be any different for art? This got me thinking about all the different ways scientists and artist use animals as their specimen on a daily basis. Two examples really jumped-out at me: scientists use animals to test beauty products that are a form of artwork and chefs, which can be seen as a form of an artist, use animals (meat) as their artwork as well. Furthermore, it would be hypocritical to say that that using animals, whether it means killing them or altering their genetic codes, should not be used by artists for the sole purpose of creating a masterpiece.

week7_Animal Consciousness_ Kirk Naylor

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

In the presentation given, the concept of Animal Consciousness was raised, or the idea that animals could think and comprehend on a level much closer to humans than traditionally thought. Naturally, this concept has significant opposition. The main group opposed to this concept are known as the Cartesians, so called because of their strict  following of the philosophies of DeCarte. They believe animals to be “automata” with no real governing function of thought or consciousness. Although, there is human opposition to this idea, there are several intrinsically complicated qualities of Animal Consciousness which could help to keep it from being accepted scientifically.

The first of this is the very concept of consciousness itself, which has several definitions, none of which really is both universal and precise, however in relation to Animal Consciousness it is generally taken to mean the ability of an animal to process higher-level information and mentally perform intelligent tasks similar to humans, but the basic lack of a clear definition could still hinder the progress of the idea of Animal Consciousness. Another problem with the concept is that humans use philosophy and consciousness in relation to nature to define what humans really are, and if the consciousness of animals may not be static, then judging humans based on animals as a reference point would be significantly harder.

When considering this concept, one must also consider the ethical background. All over the world, people farm and kill animals, and if one day science does find out that there is such a thing as Animal Consciousness, it would be an extremely difficult task to stop farming which is so implanted in social tradition, even though it would be extremely unethical, because if Animal Consciousness existed in any animal that humans eat or kill, the farming of them would be unthinkable in nature.

A final impediment of this concept is that it is almost certain that science has no way to measure this as of this time, and it is even possible that it never will, because consciousness is such a nebulous thing, that it may never really be quantified in a way that would satisfy the scientific method.Kirk Naylor

Week 7 Memory and Consciousness by Tanya Patimeteeporn

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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My initial reaction to Siddharth Ramakrishnan’s presentation was that it is obvious that animals are conscious or else they would not be able to survive. Animals have to be conscious to know when to eat, drink, and run away from predators or danger. Ramakrishnan mentioned how octopi camouflage into their surroundings to stalk prey and hide from predators and how bees know when to sting their predators. He states that these examples are of animals being conscious. But then I realized that the ability to survive is an instinct. So, I started to question whether animals do have consciousness as Ramakrishnan presented to the class. The definition of conscious I found states that to be conscious is having an awareness of one’s environment and one’s own existence, sensations, and thoughts. The key word I found in this definition was thoughts. Thus in order for animal to be in a state of consciousness, I believe they have to have thoughts. And the meaning of thoughts is the ability to think and come up with ideas and reasoning. As a result, for anything to be in a state of conscious, not only does it have be aware of its environment, existence and sensations but also be able to think, give ideas and reason.

However, I believe that people have different perceptions of what they define as something being able to reason, think and give ideas. For example, scientists may argue that chimpanzees have a conscious because they are able to reason out that they can’t just use their bare hands to open some large nut such as a Panda oleosa nut. The chimpanzees have to think of a way to open these large nuts. So by thinking and coming up with an idea to open these nuts, chimpanzees have a state of consciousness. Again, another scientist can say that this is merely animal instinct of survival. In order for the chimpanzees to sustain themselves, they will naturally find ways to get to their food. In another case, people have argued that animals do not have a state of consciousness due to the Cartesian argument. The Cartesian argument states that animals do not have consciousness because they do not use communication as a means to converse and reason. For example, humpback whales use whale songs to participate in mating and baleen whales utilize whale songs to locate objects that might be in their path (echolocation). The humpback whales and baleen whales do not use whale songs to simply converse and reason what they are doing. In a different argument for animals having consciousness, it has been acknowledged that elephants can make art with a canvas and a paint brush. On the other hand, it is not definite whether elephants are conscious of what they are creating since they are guided here and there by humans. As a whole, these arguments for animals having and not having consciousness depends on what people define as being in a state of consciousness. I believe that their perceptions of animals having consciousness are based on what they believe and in my opinion there is always controversy in beliefs since beliefs are based on the individual’s personal experience, environment, and faith.

Cartesian view of consciousness in humans

Cartesian view of consciousness in humans

Week 7-Children’s Eidetic Memory- By Idy Tam

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

There are reasons why young children have such a potentially dysfunctional memory. Visual input is held wide open because only through life experiences can a sense of relevance for what should be held in memory is gained. Steven Rose, a research professor addressed in his book The Making of Memory that people evolved in circumstances where “it was a good bet that the environment in which one grew up would be virtually identical to that in which one spent one’s entire adult life. Hence the eidetic memory of childhood, enabling rules of perception to be developed, could smoothly transpose at the approach of puberty into the more linear forms of adult memory”. Studies have concluded that up to half of young children have vivid eidetic memory. Studies have concluded that up to half of young children have vivid eidetic memory.

Many have it to such a strong degree that, with no prior instruction, they can count the stripes on the Cheshire cat’s tail well after being shown an illustration from Alice in Wonderland or spell out words in a foreign language they don’t know after seeing them a complex photograph. The rare few who retain these photographic memories as adults generally live confused, unhappy lives with failed relationships. Great nature photography usually happens with a conscious passion for how we want a scene to look in the mind of another as we distill the situation before our eyes down to its essentials. Children tend to see photographs identically, without sensing any interpretive artistry. An image is merely a substitute for the real thing, assessed as if the actual scene was being observed.

This study reinforces the widely known saying that “one cannot teach an old dog new tricks.” It is not that adults cannot input new skills and memory; it is just that it will take a longer amount of time than it would for children. For example, a child who has moved to a foreign country without knowing a single word of that language will learn this language at a faster rate and speak it fluently without any accent than an adult would. The remarkable performances of some child protegies in activities begin with simplicity and gradually attain complexity, such as music, dance, and painting, do not transfer over to nature photography, which becomes simply out of the great complexity of the natural world.

Children are more likely to possess eidetic memory than adults, though they begin losing the ability after age six as they learn to process information more abstractly. Although psychologists don’t know why children lose the ability, the loss of this skill may be functional: Were humans to remember every single image, it would be difficult to make it through the day. As humans grow up we began to develop an emotional interpretation of the memory that we are inputting every day. Unless it is an event that is significant to us, we will not be able to retain fully what happened. The reason why children are more like to have photographic memory than adults is that younger children are exposed to new events almost every day. Therefore these new events are significant to them as they are learning the wonders of the world they are in.

Siddartha Guatam’s lecture was really enlightening. I never considered that animal consciousness was similar to the consciousness of humans. The idea that animal consciousness that is different than humans is qualitative and absolute or whether animals are conscious even though the content of their consciousness is undoubtedly limited and very likely quite different from ours. Consciousness may occur only rarely in some species and not at all in others and even animals that are sometimes aware of events that are important in their lives may be incapable of understanding many other facts and relationships. But the capability of conscious awareness under some conditions may well be so essential that it is the sine qua non of animal life, even for the smallest and simplest animals that have any central nervous system at all. After this lecture, it made me think before I put a piece of chicken in my mouth during dinner.