via the always wonderful MindHacks:
A group of leading neuroscientists has used a conference at Cambridge University to make an official declaration recognising consciousness in animals.
The declaration was made at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference and signed by some of the leading lights in consciousness research, including Christof Koch and David Edelman.
The main part of the declaration reads:
We declare the following: “The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non- human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”
While it feels like a “well, duh” moment, it does remove the eons-old notion that “consciousness” comes from the higher cortex. And it does/could have implications on our understanding of the universality of memory, emotion, and self-awareness.