I've started a wildfire.
Stress and shock aren't really emotions so much as a real medical condition.
And the best point against my argument was finally presented. I can fully agree with bettas being a solitary animal and not being "wired", so to speak, to experiance separation anxiety. I can buy that.
I seem to be taking a middle ground here. When I argue a point that bettas can feel emotion, I speak of very basic emotions that have their origins in instincts. Fear is an emotion, a state of mind derived of a situation of stress, insecurity, and danger. But contentness is also an emotion, a state of mind brough about by a full belly, no predators, and no rivals.
More complex emotions, like anger, happiness, love, companionship, I don't think they have the capacity for. They are very intelligent fish, yes. They can recognize faces and voices and know which ones equal food. But here's what I'm wondering. Do we trigger a basic emotion like contentness in a betta when he sees an recognizes us. For an animal of instinct, food is the second most important thing in the world. You don't know when your next meal will be. But for a pet, he knows when I walk by the tank and pull out a can of food, he's going to be fed and that need is met. Is it too far fetched to think that we can trigger contentness in bettas because we meet those needs for them?