Based on the research by Dr. Tobias Starzak and Professor Albert Newen from the Institute of Philosophy II at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, yes, they do. Although it is not easy to prove, the research shows that chimpanzees, dogs, and some birds have beliefs. It stands to reason that if these animals do, others do as well.
According to the study for an animal to illustrate that they have beliefs, they must meet certain criteria. They must have information about the world; the animal must be able to use the information in a flexible manner; then that information is then internally structured into a belief with different aspects of that information being processed separately; and they must be able to recombine the components of the information in unique ways.
According to Albert Newen, flexible behavior which can be interpreted as caused by beliefs has been observed in chimpanzees, rats and Border collies.
- Albert Newen, Tobias Starzak. How to ascribe beliefs to animals. Mind & Language, 2020; DOI: 10.1111/mila.12302
Cite This Page:
Ruhr-University Bochum. “What it means when animals have beliefs: Chimpanzees, some dog species and even scrub jay and crows have beliefs..” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2020. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200617145957.htm