There was a test with a type of fish that fought other males (not bettas), and when put against a mirror, they felt scared because they weren't winning. These aren't human-like emotions, though. It is just natural instinct. And they can't feel happiness, but they can feel content, or in pain/not content, because that is important in the wild.
I believe they feel emotions. What would be the point of life if you couldn't feel anything? As it seems with every creature, humans are discovering fish are more intelligant and complex than previously thought before. I'd imagine a fish might feel both stressed and scared in a pet store, and I do believe that they can recognize faces. Velvet, who I rescued from my sister, hid from me at first because I dropped him. Then once he got used to me, if my sister came into the room, he'd react and hide once again.
Also, aren't stress and shock emotions? That just proves already they have emotions. As for seperation anxiety.... I believe they do, yes. I have no personal expirience with it, but many people say their Betta tail bites if left alone too long. Then again maybe my Betta bites his tail from this... we might never truely know, though.
I think that all fish are more intelligent than people typically give them credit for (that "fish only have a ten second memory" notion still persists even though studies have show their memories to be much longer) but I don't think they are capable of anything like separation anxiety. Especially bettas, since they are solitary animals. They don't have any biological need for companionship--in fact they generally prefer to be alone. Dogs get separation anxiety because dogs are pack animals that crave companionship, and view humans as part of their pack. But bettas don't have any need for company, and even fish that do need companions would never see a human as part of their school. While I am sure they do feel emotions like fear, stress and contentment, they just aren't wired to experience something like separation anxiety. I think they respond so well to humans because, while they don't have an emotional bond with humans, they are certainly smart enough to know that that is where the food comes from!
I dont think fish has the brain compacity to reconize one human from another. My fish dont care what human stands in front of their tank cause they think they are about to get fed (I assume). to them a big large giant opening the tank lid = food. This is called classical conditioning (learned it in school ) think of it like a mouse learning how to get their food but only by stepping on a button stepping on a button = food
just like 1f2f said
I believe what you think is emotions is their natural instincts everyone is born with it including animals and fish
Thats just my take on it!
This is actually not completely true.. certain species of fish can recognize people that are around them more often (say, you compared to a friend that stops by). From what I've read, goldfish and bettas are capable of remembering faces and food locations for years. (Which would be classical conditioning, yes) I'm even willing to put out there that my gouramis can do this.. when I come to the tank they come up to the glass with their feelers and sit waiting to be fed, but when my brother or dad come by they hide or aren't interested.
I do agree with the emotions vs. instinct thing, though.. while a fish can definitely recognize someone I don't think that it means they have feeling for them aside from "feed me". Similar to snakes, I believe.. (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm not a snake keeper).. they are incapable of feeling such a thing like "love" or "friendliness".. only "this person feeds me every day. I'm seeing them now, so I must be getting fed".
I admit it can be fun to imagine your betta missed you over the course of the day, don't get me wrong. P: I just don't think that they are filled with human emotions.
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?
It does occur in the wild. The concept is Pavlonian. When a dog sees food, he feels happy because he's getting food. You ring a bell when he eats and within a few days or weeks, you ring the bell and he gets all happy because he knows there's food coming.
Let's take that to a betta. A betta is content when there is food available. When the giant person decided to come close to the glass at a certain time of day, it means I get food, one of my needs are met, and I'm happy. The human has not directly been connected to the emotion yet. What I'm saying is, is it reasonable to assume that at some point, bettas cut out the middleman, like dogs, rats, and even goldfish do. Human near the glass means I'm content because my need will soon be met.
Yes bettas have emotions. Even Linda Olson feels the same as Faith (who doesn't believe Faith is a good source of info but to each their own). Linda has TONS of jars...no cards and her fish interact with each other. It is cruel to visually seperate bettas....even with their extreme agression they need social interaction.
Yeah, even though they can't live together doesn't mean that they don't like to see other bettas. They get used to seeing each other and pretty much ignore each other. My McGee flares at his neighbor Wesley but usually they ignore each other.