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Animal AlterityScience Fiction and the Question of the Animal$
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Sherryl Vint

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781846312342

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846316135

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The Mirror Test: Humans, Animals and Sentience

The Mirror Test: Humans, Animals and Sentience

(p.45) 2. The Mirror Test: Humans, Animals and Sentience
Animal Alterity

This chapter focuses on the investigation of sentience in animals, describing the mirror test, which assesses consciousness and intelligence in animal research. When the animal recognises itself in the mirror, it passes the mirror test. Animals fail the test either by ignoring the mirror or by recognising in it another being like oneself but separate from oneself. The chapter argues that the mirror test denotes self-awareness as an indicator of sentience. The image of the mirror also signifies the ways in which human representations of animals can be mirrors for the construction of oneself.

Keywords:   sentience, animals, mirror test, consciousness, intelligence, animal research

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