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The inconvenient truth about thinking chickens
Animal Sentience
  • Lori Marino
Author Website


Original Abstract: Domestic chickens are members of an order, Aves, which has been the focus of a revolution in our understanding of neuroanatomical, cognitive, and social complexity. Some birds are now known to be on a par with many mammals in their intelligence, emotional sophistication, and social interaction. Yet views of chickens have largely remained unrevised in light of this new evidence. In this paper, I examine the data on cognition, emotions, personality, and sociality in chickens, exploring such areas as self-awareness, cognitive bias, social learning and self-control, and comparing their abilities with other birds and other vertebrates, particularly mammals. My overall conclusion is that chickens are just as complex cognitively, emotionally and socially as most other birds and mammals in many areas, and that there is a need for further noninvasive comparative behavioral research with chickens as well as a re-framing of current views about their intelligence.

Author Biography

Lori Marino is a neuroscientist, former faculty affiliate at the Emory Center for Ethics, and Executive Director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy and the Whale Sanctuary Project. She has authored over 130 publications on dolphin and whale brain evolution and anatomy, intelligence and self-awareness, and the effects of captivity on social mammals, including cetaceans, elephants and primates. She worked with the Nonhuman Rights Project and is featured in the films Blackfish and Unlocking The Cage.

Citation Information
Lori Marino. "The inconvenient truth about thinking chickens"
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