Emotions and Cuddling

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Credit: Petr Necas

Cuddling

I will try to explain what is happening here, please take it as I write it without any offense and without wanting to hurt your feelings.
1. Chameleons are not capable of love, their behavioral mechanisms are much more primitive than in mammals or humans. Their behavior is much more based on simple action-reaction principles and on simple reflexive responses. Their ability to learn is there but very limited and they are virtually unable to act emotionally, simply as they do not possess the parts of brain that are responsible for this type of functions.
2. People tend to interprete their behavior in human terms and are what they want to see and not what is reality, moreover they dramatically misunderstand what the animals are actually doing, sometimes they signal to us the opposite what we are understanding
3. Chameleons do not and never like to cuddle, they have no mechanism to feel well if immobilized, touched, covered with hand, blanket etc! On contrary, it is extremely unnatural for them, as this happens only in the case of predation on them!
4. If chameleons show bright colors when handled, in majority of cases it is a signal of stress!
5. If chameleons even close their eyes and freeze in one Position, it is a mechanism, which is known as akinesis or Thanatosis: if they have no way how to escape (or they perceive the situation like this) they simply play dead!
6. Once they play dead and handling stops, they prolong the strategy.
7. Once a chameleon closes its eye and it is relatively dark so that even its pinneal organ does not identify light and warmth rays, they reflexively start to sleep.

So, please, understand, that to cuddle is harmful for a chameleon and stop doing it...

People having chameleons as pets usually vigorously refuse to accept what is written above.
It is your choice...
I just hope your love to chameleons and fascination, will be directed in the direction of better really understanding them rather than harming them by misunderstanding them...

Please, once more, no offense intended, just - simple evidence-and science-based explanation of the chameleon behavior
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
LOL, every time I hear about people being loved by their chameleons. I think about this cartoon.

246538
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
Credit: Petr Necas

Cuddling

I will try to explain what is happening here, please take it as I write it without any offense and without wanting to hurt your feelings.
1. Chameleons are not capable of love, their behavioral mechanisms are much more primitive than in mammals or humans. Their behavior is much more based on simple action-reaction principles and on simple reflexive responses. Their ability to learn is there but very limited and they are virtually unable to act emotionally, simply as they do not possess the parts of brain that are responsible for this type of functions.
2. People tend to interprete their behavior in human terms and are what they want to see and not what is reality, moreover they dramatically misunderstand what the animals are actually doing, sometimes they signal to us the opposite what we are understanding
3. Chameleons do not and never like to cuddle, they have no mechanism to feel well if immobilized, touched, covered with hand, blanket etc! On contrary, it is extremely unnatural for them, as this happens only in the case of predation on them!
4. If chameleons show bright colors when handled, in majority of cases it is a signal of stress!
5. If chameleons even close their eyes and freeze in one Position, it is a mechanism, which is known as akinesis or Thanatosis: if they have no way how to escape (or they perceive the situation like this) they simply play dead!
6. Once they play dead and handling stops, they prolong the strategy.
7. Once a chameleon closes its eye and it is relatively dark so that even its pinneal organ does not identify light and warmth rays, they reflexively start to sleep.

So, please, understand, that to cuddle is harmful for a chameleon and stop doing it...

People having chameleons as pets usually vigorously refuse to accept what is written above.
It is your choice...
I just hope your love to chameleons and fascination, will be directed in the direction of better really understanding them rather than harming them by misunderstanding them...

Please, once more, no offense intended, just - simple evidence-and science-based explanation of the chameleon behavior

While I am in no way disagreeing with the above, as far as it goes, the academic in me still wants to prod at the working definition of emotion. As I tried to point out in several posts, everyone touting scientific backup still makes a very big assumption: that emotions are defined relative to human hardware. Oddly, this might be the most anthropomorphizing mistake made yet, or else completely uninteresting: Emotions are the kinds of things that WE experience, and not something else—perhaps functionally equivalent—that chameleons experience. OR: emotions just are those things that PEOPLE experience, in which case the point that chameleons don’t have emotions is uninteresting and definitionally true...like saying all bachelors are unmarried.

Big point: the current trend in cog science—reductive though it may be—is to define conscious states functionally, not phenomenally. This being the case, it makes no difference whether a chameleon doesn’t have OUR system for emotions, nor does it matter that a computer does not have OUR system for emotion. So long as they have systems that can functionally realize the same outputs, given the same inputs, they have emotions.

Now, I certainly don’t endorse functionalist accounts of mentality, but as it is basically orthodoxy, using this very same science to try to disallow chameleon/computer/dog/dolphin emotion seems at best incredibly short sighted, and emblematic of academic tunnel vision; and at worst simply inconsistent with the current functionalist account of mentality.

As you can tell, I’m feeling snarky right now. I tried yesterday to probe parties on either side of this debate for what exactly they mean when they argue for or against chameleon love, emotion, feelings, etc. I even tried to suggest a strategy for coming up with criteria that might put the interested parties on a level playing field—all employing the same tentative definition. No one bit.

In the quoted article by Petr Necas, (dr.?) Necas assumes emotions are the kinds of things that require OUR kind of cerebral setup. Why is that? Maybe he just means that emotions, as we experience them, cannot be felt by chameleons. But that’s super uninteresting. Of course it’s true that a chameleon doesn’t know what it’s like to be HUMAN angry, duh! But it is equally obvious that we don’t know what it is like to target a bug with independently moving eyes, then shoot our tongues out at it and eat it. This is what CHAMELEONS call eating. Does that mean that US humans don’t eat?

Here’s a thought experiment for you: imagine that, unbeknownst to ourselves, there is a whole hidden academic world of super intelligent chameleons. And right now, they’re arguing about how humans survive without eating, since, for them, eating is exactly as I just described, and as we don’t have the ability or hardware, we don’t count as bonafide eaters.

Of course the problem here is apparent: we’re arguing about different concepts! Here’s another one: peeing is the expulsion of urine from a urethra. So chameleons don’t pee? Or do they expel uric acid in some other way that is functionally equivalent to peeing? Uh!!!!! So pissed.
 
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Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
Further to my last,

If this argument is just about whether or not we should cuddle our chameleons, then obviously: dummy up! It’s a fu¥king chameleon, not a pillow and you do it a disservice by treating it as such. But if the bigger point is about chameleon mentality, their ability to experience things, then everything I’ve said applies.
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
Credit: Petr Necas

Cuddling

I will try to explain what is happening here, please take it as I write it without any offense and without wanting to hurt your feelings.
1. Chameleons are not capable of love, their behavioral mechanisms are much more primitive than in mammals or humans. Their behavior is much more based on simple action-reaction principles and on simple reflexive responses. Their ability to learn is there but very limited and they are virtually unable to act emotionally, simply as they do not possess the parts of brain that are responsible for this type of functions.
2. People tend to interprete their behavior in human terms and are what they want to see and not what is reality, moreover they dramatically misunderstand what the animals are actually doing, sometimes they signal to us the opposite what we are understanding
3. Chameleons do not and never like to cuddle, they have no mechanism to feel well if immobilized, touched, covered with hand, blanket etc! On contrary, it is extremely unnatural for them, as this happens only in the case of predation on them!
4. If chameleons show bright colors when handled, in majority of cases it is a signal of stress!
5. If chameleons even close their eyes and freeze in one Position, it is a mechanism, which is known as akinesis or Thanatosis: if they have no way how to escape (or they perceive the situation like this) they simply play dead!
6. Once they play dead and handling stops, they prolong the strategy.
7. Once a chameleon closes its eye and it is relatively dark so that even its pinneal organ does not identify light and warmth rays, they reflexively start to sleep.

So, please, understand, that to cuddle is harmful for a chameleon and stop doing it...

People having chameleons as pets usually vigorously refuse to accept what is written above.
It is your choice...
I just hope your love to chameleons and fascination, will be directed in the direction of better really understanding them rather than harming them by misunderstanding them...

Please, once more, no offense intended, just - simple evidence-and science-based explanation of the chameleon behavior

Perfect. Thank you.
 

Ramrod

Chameleon Enthusiast
Don't really understand why all the back and forth on this subject. Can't we just enjoy our chams and accept them for the joy they bring without debating thier emotional status? Just saying; they are what they are, what difference does it make?
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
The science behind this type of study has been over decades. People like Peter have been studying to see if they show any form of emotion, but in all cases anything that could be percieved as sign of emotion all had other underlying causes. I get the arguement of, "what about how a reptile feels emotion?" But if studies show there is zero chemical reaction to certain events its more or less impossible.

Sorry bud, but I think you’re missing my point. We’re looking for the chemical responses indicative of emotion right? Where do we get that data? What chemical responses are we using as the gold standard against which all others are measured? Again, I’m actually not arguing that chameleons know what it’s like to feel human emotions. Far from it! Think particular debate is fascinating to me, but no one gives a crap about trying to answer the fundamentals before exploding with either gross appeals to emotion, or else irrelevant appeals to authority via scientific literature that precisely misses the point.

I think I should stop weighing in on this particular debate, as I’m becoming increasingly frustrated by what I take as a general disinterest in actually testing intuitions, biases, and blind acceptances. I appreciate the response here, but I’m done here.
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
The science behind this type of study has been over decades. People like Peter have been studying to see if they show any form of emotion, but in all cases anything that could be percieved as sign of emotion all had other underlying causes. I get the arguement of, "what about how a reptile feels emotion?" But if studies show there is zero chemical reaction to certain events its more or less impossible.

Sorry bud, but I think you’re missing my point. We’re looking for the chemical responses indicative of emotion right? Where do we get that data? What chemical responses are we using as the gold standard against which all others are measured? Again, I’m actually not arguing that chameleons know what it’s like to feel human emotions. Far from it! Think particular debate is fascinating to me, but no one gives a crap about trying to answer the fundamentals before exploding with either gross appeals to emotion, or else irrelevant appeals to authority via scientific literature that precisely misses the point.

I think I should stop weighing in on this particular debate, as I’m becoming increasingly frustrated by what I take as a general disinterest in actually testing intuitions, biases, and blind acceptances. I appreciate the response here, but I’m done here.
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hmm. So what about the few videos of chameleons giving "headbutts" to owners while on their shoulders? I assume its not an emotion, but what is it? We know they do recognize certain people, we are not faceless giants to them. They have studied cats, and have come to the conclusion that they see us as big dumb cats. So what are we in their eyes if we are not seen as predators? I dont think they see us as chameleons...
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hmm. So what about the few videos of chameleons giving "headbutts" to owners while on their shoulders? I assume its not an emotion, but what is it? We know they do recognize certain people, we are not faceless giants to them. They have studied cats, and have come to the conclusion that they see us as big dumb cats. So what are we in their eyes if we are not seen as predators? I dont think they see us as chameleons...

I like what Bill Strand said, really big walking non dangerous trees.
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
I mean feel free to get emotional, no one is stopping you. But what I see in your posts and everyone elses posts is a denial of evidence. Indicitive of the same peole who denied the world is round when all evidence points to the contrary. You want a intelligent conversation, this is the intelligent conversation. Give me some scientific evidence to the contrary and I will listen, because my opinion stands on the science. But if all anyone is bring to the table is things theyve seen, Peter already mentioned how we tend to perceive things.
Omg, again, I’m not dismissing scientific evidence, I’m questioning the implicit bias in the evidence proffered. I entirely believe that chameleons don’t have the hardware for people-emotions. If you’d like peer-reviews articles about how much we don’t know about mentality and the brain—be it human or animal—I’m happy to give you them. But again, that article by Necas is absolute garbage. I agree with his point that chameleons don’t like to be cuddled, and that they have very different brains than us, but he speaks as though he is a PhD in human psychology too. Locutions such as ‘we tend to’ are super contentious. If anyone is seriously demanding that I produce peer reviews academic articles, then produce necas’ peer reviewed article as quoted above. Also, all the science babble touted still comes with no sources, no way of verifying the facts: you call me out on sources? Cite yours! A chameleon biologist is in no way competent to make generalizations about human tendencies, behaviours or psychology, yet necas does consistently in the above. Furthermore my question still hasn’t been answered: what the $uck do you mean by ‘feelings/emotions/love’ etc? If no one is willing to give even the slightest hint of some discussable criteria, then this debate seems beyond pointless, as no one is willing to say what it is they’re talking about.
 
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