The team of researchers is led by Rui Oliveira, who writes that the formation of emotions, “considered a complex capacity, may be associated with mechanisms that are simpler than previously thought”.
So, it is proved that after all the fish also have emotions, according to the team of Portuguese researchers, who published a study in which he argues that environmental stimuli arouse emotional responses.
To assess fish responses to scenarios in which they were placed, the team measured and evaluated “behavioral, physiological, brain and genetic changes”.
Previously, scientists had already concluded that “primates and some mammals express emotional states”, but the existence of these states in ‘simpler’ animals is still a matter of debate.
In the experiments carried out by the team of scientists from the University of Algarve, ISPA – Instituto Universitário, Instituto Gulbenkian and Fundação Champalimaud, fish were subjected to “favorable or adverse” situations in order to test how they would respond.
Thus, by evaluating the interaction and behavior of goldfish used in experiments, it was found that “fish respond differently to the same stimulus depending on the way they interpreted it”.
The levels of cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’ and the zones of the brain activated with each positive or negative emotional state were also measured in animals.
Rui Oliveira believes that the cognitive ability to form emotional reactions in the face of the circumstances to which they are subject may be “simpler than you have considered, and may have evolved some 375 million years ago”.
“The occurrence of cognitive evaluation of an emotional stimulus in fish implies that this cognitive ability may have ‘computational’ requirements that are simpler than we have considered, and may have evolved some 375 million years ago”, the researcher explained.
Now the great challenge of conducting such investigations is that fish do not verbalize them, unlike humans or other mammals.