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Newt mental system

This is a discussion on Newt mental system within the Herpetological Science & Politics forums, part of the Advanced Newt & Salamander Topics category; I've been curious about the way my newts see the world, the way they percieve things, and what they think. ...

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Old 13th November 2010   #1 (permalink)
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Question Newt mental system

I've been curious about the way my newts see the world, the way they percieve things, and what they think. Can they see colors? How does their brain function? Can they have "fun"?



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Old 14th November 2010   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Newt mental system

Well, I know they play "King of the Hill." When it's feeding time, they try to get as close to me as possible and push the other ones aside in that attempt.



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Old 14th November 2010   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Newt mental system

That's funny, from the title, I thought you might be asking about the mental gland found under the chin in some amphibians. I don't know anything about either, sorry!



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Old 14th November 2010   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Newt mental system

I often wonder about these questions.

The questions seem to be divided into two types:

Questions about whether newts can see colour and how their brains function seem like scientific questions and are probably fairly easy to answer. Wikipedia says that newts can see colour, and indeed that some reptiles and amphibians may have more acute colour sensitivity than mammals: Color vision - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Questions about how newts think (and whether they have fun) are perhaps in a different category; one is essentially asking: what it is like to be a newt?

Wondering about this question several months ago, I was doing some reading on the problem on consciousness in general and ran across this interesting paper by a philosopher named David Chalmers:

Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness
Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness

This is apparently a seminal paper in the field exploring questions of consciousness. It does not answer the question of what it is like to be a newt (no one knows!) but it does give some insight into the problems that one encounters when trying to answer that type of question. Chalmers points out that despite great advances in understanding how brains (and organisms in general) work, we really have no idea why the structure and experience of an organism gives rise to a particular conscious experience.



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