The Use of Emotion Symbols in Language-Using Apes
There has been a long history of scientific disagreement about the ability of nonhumans to feel complex or even simple emotions. One of the stumbling blocks for recognition of emotions has been the inability of animals to communicate about emotions or any internal state. Here we look at the internal state utterances of language competent apes. In particular, four internal state symbols are explored: mad, happy, scared, and hurt. We find that these apes use these words appropriately and that developmentally, their use of internal state words occurs after they begin to use value based words like good and bad. We also find that there is less co-construction of internal state words as opposed to the more culturally changeable value based words.
Emotions of Animals and Humans
(2012). The Use of Emotion Symbols in Language-Using Apes. Emotions of Animals and Humans, 113-127.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/21491