Emotional connections to fish - Page 2

ayeayeron

I know that for many people, losing fish may dampen the mood but aren’t the same as would be a dog or cat.
Well for me, not only my fish but my shrimp and snails Im emotionally connected to. Even the ones without names. For example, I had a school of bleeding heart tetras and all of them died except for one. Well I decided to give my last tetra to the LFS so he could be in a school. Well I felt so guilty about giving him up that I wrote him a letter.
Am I the only one this connected to fish?
 

ayeayeron

I understand, a big part of the reason I eat fish is because I was too unhealthy when I didn't. I've tried to be vegan as well and it's just not possible for me. Ethically I'd love to be able to abstain from animal products but realistically I have a lot of northern European heritage and my body craves dairy and meat as a survival mechanism, avoiding meat is the best I can do. I'd never blame anyone for taking care of their health first as this is a difficult world we humans have made for ourselves and not one we personally had a say in
Totally. For me what’s more important than abstaining from eating meat is getting animal products from ethical sources. Personally I believe that it is best for us as humans to eat animal products because that’s how we are designed. But of course it is all preference! I just feel like I make more of an impact supporting good, ethical businesses that treat their animals well rather than quitting animal products all together
 
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fish 321

Same here. I was raised in the country, and most of our meat was from animals we raised and butchered ourselves, so getting emotionally attached to them didn't happen.
Kind of the same for me, I have had chickens most of life, mostly for eggs but we butchered them every 2 years and get new ones, we also did meat chickens. Also being raised in Alaska, hunting is kind of a way of life so I have been raised hunting and butchering my own meat. Plus we kill large amounts of salmon evey year so mabey thats whay I am not emotinaly atached to fish.
 
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Hugooo

I personally respect everyone's opinion in this thread. I think it's important to just do what works best for you, and know that it's okay. If you do get emotionally attached to your fish, then good for you. You have something in your life that matters this much to you, and you take the time out of your busy day to do research and care for your fish. If you don't get emotionally attached to your fish, then that's also fine. You have other things in your life that mean more to you, and that is totally normal. Even if you're caring for your fish and doing lots of research, it still may not mean much to you. It may simply be a hobby; a stress-reliever.

I know this sounds a bit like rambling lol, but I just wanted to say that it's cool to me how everyone has their own style of emotional connection.
 
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KatLovesCoffee

This has sent me deep into the scholarly journal archives of science and psychology, attempting to definitively prove or disprove that fish have a limbic system capable of sentient behavior and emotional response or connection.

Some really interesting stuff out there.

Also...and don’t shoot me for wondering this because I’m female too...I wonder if the ratio of females feeling emotional connections to fish are higher, lower, or equivalent than that of males.

Additionally, if a particular personality type reports as more likely to become attached, such as an INFP like myself.

just thoughts.
 
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ProudPapa

This has sent me deep into the scholarly journal archives of science and psychology, attempting to definitively prove or disprove that fish have a limbic system capable of sentient behavior and emotional response or connection.

Some really interesting stuff out there.

Also...and don’t shoot me for wondering this because I’m female too...I wonder if the ratio of females feeling emotional connections to fish are higher, lower, or equivalent than that of males.

Additionally, if a particular personality type reports as more likely to become attached, such as an INFP like myself.

just thoughts.

I haven't done any scholarly research into it, but I suspect that people having an emotional attachment to animals increases each generation that people are removed from food production. I'm pretty sure you'll find very few people who grew up, as I did, raising and butchering food animals who have emotional connections to them.

As far as the male to female ratio, my best guess is that more females feel that connection, but that it's not as big a margin as it was a few decades ago.
 
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Fae

This has sent me deep into the scholarly journal archives of science and psychology, attempting to definitively prove or disprove that fish have a limbic system capable of sentient behavior and emotional response or connection.

Some really interesting stuff out there.

Also...and don’t shoot me for wondering this because I’m female too...I wonder if the ratio of females feeling emotional connections to fish are higher, lower, or equivalent than that of males.

Additionally, if a particular personality type reports as more likely to become attached, such as an INFP like myself.

just thoughts.

I haven't done any scholarly research into it, but I suspect that people having an emotional attachment to animals increases each generation that people are removed from food production. I'm pretty sure you'll find very few people who grew up, as I did, raising and butchering food animals who have emotional connections to them.

As far as the male to female ratio, my best guess is that more females feel that connection, but that it's not as big a margin as it was a few decades ago.

Man you guys got me thinking, that's super interesting. So on the human side of the connection, it's likely that empathy to animals is a relatively recent phenomenon? (At least on a cultural level, individual anomalies aside).

Id imagine introverted, sensing, thinking, perceiving would be the most likely traits to lead to becoming attached, but it's hard to say without knowing some people

I really liked the insight about being removed from food production. That makes a lot of sense as it's no longer necessary to suppress natural empathy if your food magically appears on your table without you having to consider how it got there.

*I got excited and kind of ranted about animals here bear with me lol*

It's more or less been proven at this point that fish are sentient, feel pain, and have emotions. Emotional connections to a human are less likely, but that would depend on the fish. A school of bait fish? Unlikely, but not impossible. A "predator" fish like a cichlid or even a Betta would be more likely to want a connection.
For animals that are purely prey, being confident and trusting is a death sentence. For animals that hunt, that element of confidence and self awareness is necessary to eat.

Did you know it's been found that most animals, right down to bugs and all, have been found to engage in play (especially as youngsters)? From a survival perspective, play is incredibly important to a growing mind because it allows for practice at critical adult behaviours. But why would an animal play, and put themselves at risk of harm, when the only benefit has no tangible reward? Because emotions. Evolution has made play fun, because those who play are better equipped for life. Happiness is life's bribe to you.
Essentially, emotions are a survival mechanism that all animals have evolved simultaneously. They are different for all species subjectively, but they are definitely there
 
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GlennO

I've had a particular fondness for a few fish but I wouldn't call it an emotional connection. The only animals that I've had that sort of connection with are dogs.
 
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KatLovesCoffee

Did you know it's been found that most animals, right down to bugs and all, have been found to engage in play (especially as youngsters)? From a survival perspective, play is incredibly important to a growing mind because it allows for practice at critical adult behaviours. But why would an animal play, and put themselves at risk of harm, when the only benefit has no tangible reward? Because emotions. Evolution has made play fun, because those who play are better equipped for life. Happiness is life's bribe to you.
Essentially, emotions are a survival mechanism that all animals have evolved simultaneously. They are different for all species subjectively, but they are definitely there
Respectfully speaking, I would love to
read some information regarding bugs for some of those claims, especially since its widely accepted that a bugs brain is a series of pre programmed responses to specific stimuli. Anything stating otherwise would be of interest to me—-especially that bugs play. Please share anything you’ve read, if you can. Sounds interesting.

Whereas, in the case of the 103 guppies study, the fish all raised in the same environment exhibited differing behaviors when exposed to the same stimulus, and maintained those behaviors every time: some were cowards, some were brave, and some froze where they were...consistently.
There existed variations of differing behaviors within the same species, which supports the fact that fish are individuals with the ability to operate outside of preprogrammed response, even if it’s a repsonse of the reptilian brain—the part in charge of fight, flight, freeze, and reproduction)
For those of us keeping fish, I don’t think this is surprising or new: I think even those of us who aren’t emotionally attached to our fish can observe differences in personalities among the same species.
Emotions, especially like grief, I think, are different from what the reptilian brain allows for: survival. I’m trying really hard to find any telling research pointing to the answer that fish definitively feel warmth towards us more than recognition that we meet a physiological need.
All that said, I can’t say that I love my fish. I do feel a strong need to take care of them,preserve them, and practice good husbandry to the best of my ability. And I think I have fondness for particular fish. But I certainly don’t connect to them the same way that I do my dog, and I don’t think they connect me the same way that my dog does. But I do have much empathy for them, as well as other living creatures. We are a “cup the spider and release it” (if able) kind of family, just because I try to teach my kids respect for life in general—being kind to all things because life is precious. And, when we do use an animal for food, being sure we are thankful and not wasteful of what it provides to us.

...even though my betta follows me around the room and stares at me the. Whole. Time. Like a person. Lol.
 
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Dippiedee

This thread got very scientific since I last checked it lol
 
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kanzekatores

Yah it took quite a turn
 
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AcornTheBetta

This thread got very scientific since I last checked it lol
Lol yeah. My brain isn't awake enough.
 
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Dippiedee

I haven't done any scholarly research into it, but I suspect that people having an emotional attachment to animals increases each generation that people are removed from food production. I'm pretty sure you'll find very few people who grew up, as I did, raising and butchering food animals who have emotional connections to them.

I'm a vegetarian raised by a vegetarian and I form strong emotional attachment to animals, so I think you're definitely right.
 
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AcornTheBetta

I'm a vegetarian raised by a vegetarian and I form strong emotional attachment to animals, so I think you're definitely right.
My mom is always mean to me because I love animals yet I also love burgers and bacon.
 
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Dippiedee

My mom is always mean to me because I love animals yet I also love burgers and bacon.

Morals aside, I absolutely hate the texture of meat anyway. Maybe not eating meat would be more difficult for me if I actually enjoyed it
 
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Dippiedee

Apologies... I get real jazzed up about science.

Its okay I definitely didnt mean it negatively
 
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KatLovesCoffee

Yeah same. I just have a tiny brain.
I’m sure that’s not true. You seem quite smart from what I’ve read throughout the forum. Tiny brain, my foot.
 
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WrenFeenix

Man you guys got me thinking, that's super interesting. So on the human side of the connection, it's likely that empathy to animals is a relatively recent phenomenon? (At least on a cultural level, individual anomalies aside).

Id imagine introverted, sensing, thinking, perceiving would be the most likely traits to lead to becoming attached, but it's hard to say without knowing some people

I really liked the insight about being removed from food production. That makes a lot of sense as it's no longer necessary to suppress natural empathy if your food magically appears on your table without you having to consider how it got there.

*I got excited and kind of ranted about animals here bear with me lol*

It's more or less been proven at this point that fish are sentient, feel pain, and have emotions. Emotional connections to a human are less likely, but that would depend on the fish. A school of bait fish? Unlikely, but not impossible. A "predator" fish like a cichlid or even a Betta would be more likely to want a connection.
For animals that are purely prey, being confident and trusting is a death sentence. For animals that hunt, that element of confidence and self awareness is necessary to eat.

Did you know it's been found that most animals, right down to bugs and all, have been found to engage in play (especially as youngsters)? From a survival perspective, play is incredibly important to a growing mind because it allows for practice at critical adult behaviours. But why would an animal play, and put themselves at risk of harm, when the only benefit has no tangible reward? Because emotions. Evolution has made play fun, because those who play are better equipped for life. Happiness is life's bribe to you.
Essentially, emotions are a survival mechanism that all animals have evolved simultaneously. They are different for all species subjectively, but they are definitely there
Play does serve a purpose other than having fun. Frequently, playing exercises survival behaviors, such as hunting or another skill, without the repercussions of actually engaging in that behavior before the animal has any experience doing it. Humans play to practice their motor skills and problem solving, kittens play to practice hunting skills, etc.
Emotions, to me, seem to serve as a means to interact meaningfully with others, be it with the same species or not, for friendly purposes or not. A tiger just swiping at you when it wants to scare you off is not nearly as effective as making a stink and lunging aggressively. Schooling fish probably have some emotions to help them get along better. May social animals have complex relationships to strengthen bonds.

Intelligence is not really restricted to size. There’s one species of spider, Portia fimbrata, that rivals humans with the variety of its hunting tactics. It clearly displays the ability to learn.
 
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Lilthuglet

I can get emotionally attached to a favourite mug soooo...

I name my fish, I love them, I cried when I lost one and I buried him. I am soppy.
 
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Fae

Play does serve a purpose other than having fun. Frequently, playing exercises survival behaviors, such as hunting or another skill, without the repercussions of actually engaging in that behavior before the animal has any experience doing it. Humans play to practice their motor skills and problem solving, kittens play to practice hunting skills, etc.
Emotions, to me, seem to serve as a means to interact meaningfully with others, be it with the same species or not, for friendly purposes or not. A tiger just swiping at you when it wants to scare you off is not nearly as effective as making a stink and lunging aggressively. Schooling fish probably have some emotions to help them get along better. May social animals have complex relationships to strengthen bonds.

Intelligence is not really restricted to size. There’s one species of spider, Portia fimbrata, that rivals humans with the variety of its hunting tactics. It clearly displays the ability to learn.

Interesting fact about the spider! We largely agree with each other, I think I was maybe rambling a bit too much to make my point clear haha.

I meant that schooling fish, etc, do have emotions and that's been proven- they're very social, and emotions are a big part of navigating social relationships- however being able to extend that emotional empathy and comfortability to a human aka a potential predator would be transcending instinct entirely, which is not likely to happen easily.

Well said about what emotions are, you put it in a much more clear way. I guess I was looking at it through an evolutionary lense. Through millions of years of a growingly complex mind and world, emotions developed to help control the world around you for your benefit. Such as in your example of a tiger growling and lunging to get you to back off. The world has gotten so complex now though that emotions can cause us to do things with no clear benefit, that even seem harmful if viewed narrowly (such as the potential for a kid to get hurt while playing, from the kids perspective as well as his mom's). But regardless it causes a surge of happiness. Seems counterproductive, but the happiness was born through natural selection and evolution of useful emotions. Kinda like the egg before the chicken, emotions evolved to guide the world and the world is thus guided by them
 
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WrenFeenix

Interesting fact about the spider! We largely agree with each other, I think I was maybe rambling a bit too much to make my point clear haha.

I meant that schooling fish, etc, do have emotions and that's been proven- they're very social, and emotions are a big part of navigating social relationships- however being able to extend that emotional empathy and comfortability to a human aka a potential predator would be transcending instinct entirely, which is not likely to happen easily.

Well said about what emotions are, you put it in a much more clear way. I guess I was looking at it through an evolutionary lense. Through millions of years of a growingly complex mind and world, emotions developed to help control the world around you for your benefit. Such as in your example of a tiger growling and lunging to get you to back off. The world has gotten so complex now though that emotions can cause us to do things with no clear benefit, that even seem harmful if viewed narrowly (such as the potential for a kid to get hurt while playing, from the kids perspective as well as his mom's). But regardless it causes a surge of happiness. Seems counterproductive, but the happiness was born through natural selection and evolution of useful emotions. Kinda like the egg before the chicken, emotions evolved to guide the world and the world is thus guided by them
I wasn’t trying to rebutt your argument, I was just theorizing. Sorry if I came off that way. Respect the surprisingly deep cooler conversation!

Evolution does play a big role; every aspect about a life form is useful or had a use in the past. We do live in a world where an individual (or an entire species) can get totally annihilated just by sheer bad luck, so not everything makes sense or works all the time. Happiness is beneficial, if not in a clear way, but the same with cats’ purring. Why do they purr? Why not have a different response? Idk, it’s just what works.

Emotions seem to stem from instinct rather than intelligence; the primal urges that trigger certain behaviors or responses. Now that I think about it, emotions are very impulsive. One can be conditioned to behave a certain way in a certain situation, but originally, whatever feeling was triggered by whatever stimulus was a split-second reaction. In this mindset, theoretically, wouldn’t a “lower” animal feel more emotion? Driven by emotion?
Maybe “higher” animals are just able to use emotions in a more complex way for their own benefit?

Can you tell I’m starting to ramble?

Edit: I had another idea! Happiness is a pleasant experience, right? So I want to feel happy, right? Well, maybe feeling happiness is a self-reward, of sorts, for a useful behavior. This encourages the behavior to occur more frequently, and thus increasing the benefit the useful behavior provides. Sort of a of weird, evolutionary-ulterior motive created by the collective experience of your ancestors.
This is getting real deep, man.

Hey, did you know emotions can influence genetics?
 
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BEAM1080

I've seen a couple people say their fish trusted them. I'm by no means judging people who get attached to their fish, but I disagree with assigning complex human emotions to them.
Most likely they see me they get food. So they either love me. Or they love getting food....not really sure. I would like to think they have emotions. But it just might be the brine shrimp they truely love.
 
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Fae

Hey you guys should all read this book someone suggested on here, I thought it was this thread but I guess not. I instantly bought it on Amazon and it was so good, definitely worth it. It's called What A Fish Knows by Jonathan Balcombe. It really dives deep into the topic at hand (whether fish feel emotions and the lives of fish) from a scientific perspective, yet is written by somebody with great empathy and a more logical view of the minds of fish. The guy has several animal biology/scientific degrees so he cites and uses lots of studies as examples to support his views, but it's written in a way that's pleasant and easy to read and importantly he includes a lot of stories people have sent him about their experiences with fish as well.

I love reading animal stories which is why I bought it but it turned out to actually address a lot of what's being discussed in this thread as well... So I highly recommend it to everyone reading this!
 
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