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My goal is to convince skeptics that a combination of “hard” and “soft” interdisciplinary research is necessary to advance the study of animal emotions. I argue that researchers have already gathered ample evidence (and that data are continually accumulating) to support arguments that at least some animals have deep, rich, and complex emotional lives. I also posit that those who claim that few if any animals have deep, rich, and complex emotional lives—that they cannot feel such emotions as joy, love, or grief—should share the burden of proof with those who argue otherwise.

Emotions can be broadly defined as psychological phenomena that help in behavioral management and control. Yet, some researchers argue that the word “emotion” is so general that it escapes any single definition. Indeed, the lack of agreement on what the word “emotion” means may well have resulted in a lack of progress in learning about them. Likewise, no single theory of emotions captures the complexity of the phenomena called emotions ( Griffiths 1997 , Panksepp 1998 ). Panksepp (1998 , p. 47ff) suggests that emotions be defined in terms of their adaptive and integrative functions rather than their general input and output characteristics. It is important to extend our research beyond the underlying physiological mechanisms that mask the richness of the emotional lives of many animals and learn more about how emotions serve them as they go about their daily activities.

Generally, scientists and nonscientists alike seem to agree that emotions are real and that they are extremely important, at least to humans and, perhaps, to some other animals. While there is not much consensus on the nature of animal emotions, there is no shortage of views on the subject. Followers of René Descartes and of B. F. Skinner believe that animals are robots that become conditioned to respond automatically to stimuli to which they are exposed. The view of animals as machines explains so much about what they do that it is easy to understand why many people have adopted it.

However, not everyone accepts that animals are merely automatons, unfeeling creatures of habit ( Panksepp 1998 ). Why then are there competing views on the nature of animal emotions? In part, this is because some people view humans as unique animals, created in the image of God. According to this view, humans are the only rational beings who are able to engage in self-reflection. Within contemporary scientific and philosophical traditions, there still is much debate about which animals are self-reflective.

Rollin (1990) notes that, at the end of the 1800s, animals “lost their minds.” In other words, in attempts to emulate the up-and-coming “hard sciences,” such as physics and chemistry, researchers studying animal behavior came to realize that there was too little in studies of animal emotions and minds that was directly observable, measurable, and verifiable, and chose instead to concentrate on behavior because overt actions could be seen, measured objectively, and verified (see also Dror 1999 ).

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Practical tools to trigger support socialinnovation

I want to know the people I'm working with by clarifying relationships between stakeholders.

INSPIRED BY : Namahn and Yellow Window Service Design, Design Flanders (2012) Stakeholder Mapping. In: Service design toolkit.

More complex tool that should ideally be done over a few days. Given the strategic nature of the inputs/outputs, this needs consultations with seniors, peers and ideally needs to be revised after a first pass.

The People Connections Map is a quick and simple way to visualise exactly who you are trying to reach and how. It gives you an overview of all the different individuals and organisations involved in what you do. It allows you to develop a clearer picture of how all the different people and organisations relate both to your work and each other. These might include the people or communities you work directly with; the various bodies from which you receive (or are seeking) funding; or your own peers, local communities and even international support networks.

The People Connections Map can be a great resource when sharing what you do and how it links together within the community of stakeholders that surround you. This tool is based on an original Stakeholder Spidergram developed by the Helsinki Design Lab, and further inspired by the Stakeholder Mapping tool by Namahn and Yellow Window.

Start by noting down your target audience, including beneficiaries, users or customers who would benefit from your work, in the centre of the worksheet. Then work your way from the centre towards the outer layers, mapping other people and organisations that are related to the work you do. These could be people and organisations that are responsible alongside you for implementing or delivering your work.

By organising the people and organisations that are related to your work across the concentric circles, you can indicate who of them are closer or farther away from the target audience. The closer to the core, the more influential they are. The closer to the outside, the farther away they are.

In addition it helps to further organise the people and organisations on the map by clustering them in sections that express specific networks, sectors or interest areas. For instance a section with all the people and organisations involved with health, safety, environment, or education. Choose sections that are relevant to your situation.

Once the worksheet has been filled, go through each person and organisation on the map with your team and, if necessary, reposition them into the circle and section that the team agrees fits most. This review will give you a useful starting point to discuss which relationships or connections are key, and which may need extra attention. By clearly marking out these fields in the map you can highlight and communicate the main focus for your work.

How innovation expert Xose Ramil uses the DIY tools to help NGOs accelerate social change through crowdfunding.

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