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WORKSHOP 5 (part 1): Gary Comstock: A Cow's Concept of Her Future

Decorative image for session WORKSHOP 5 (part 1): Gary Comstock: A Cow's Concept of Her Future

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7:30 PM, Saturday 30 Jun 2018 (1 hour)

Gary Comstock (Speaker)
Professor North Carolina State University

Jonathan Balcombe 
Independent Scientist and Author

Jean-Jacques Kona-Boun 
Veterinarian/Anesthesiologist Centre Vétérinaire DMV

Cows and horses lack the kind of language required to tell us what they know, if anything, about their futures. No bovine behaviors suggest cows have autobiographical, episodic “prospection” in which they imagine themselves at specific places and times in the distant future. However, they act in ways that suggest they consciously set goals, act on hypotheses to achieve them, and react flexibly when obstacles arise. The behavioral repertoire suggests wanting, desiring, and looking forward to at least short-term future states. What do we know of the neural correlates of such prospective, anticipatory seeking?  Cowshave neural networks homologous to those known in humans to support short-term prospection. Behavioral and cortical evidence suggests that cows' minds are furnished with concepts of the future.

Andrews, K. (2017). Cow persons? How to find outAnimal Behavior and Cognition, 4(4), 499-501. 
Marino, L., & Allen, K. (2017). The psychology of cowsAnimal Behavior and Cognition, 4(4), 474-498. 
Payne, E., DeAraugo, J., Bennett, P., & McGreevy, P. (2016). Exploring the existence and potential underpinnings of dog–human and horse–human attachment bondsBehavioural processes, 125, 114-121.
Baars,  B (2005) Subjective experience is probably not limited to humans: The evidence from neurobiology and behaviorConsciousness and Cognition(2005) 14(1):7-21. 
Carruthers, P (2013) Animal Minds are Real, (Distinctively) Human Minds are NotAmerican Philosophical Quarterly 50(3)  

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