Why Do Dolphins Smile? A Comparative Perspective on Dolphin Emotions and Emotional Expressions

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Book Chapter

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Although emotions have proven difficult to define, they nonetheless influence the lives of humans and non-human animals. Processing emotions is particularly important for members of species with dynamic social lives. For such animals, the ability to recognize and respond to the emotional states of others facilitates successful social interactions. For example, dolphins live in dynamic fission/fusion societies, and it seems likely that dolphins are sensitive to the emotional states of other dolphins. In this chapter, we consider the evidence for emotional states and emotional recognition in dolphins from a comparative perspective. This includes a discussion of methodologies used to study emotions in animals as well as a consideration of the overlap between animal personality research and animal emotion research. We conclude that there are many challenges facing those who study animal emotions, but also believe that a better understanding of animal emotions will increase our understanding of animal behavior and our ability to improve the welfare of wild animals in captivity and domestic animals.

Publication Title

Emotions of Animals and Humans

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