Understanding what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is an old obsession of ours. The most frequent attribute we rely on to justify our supposed superiority is intelligence. Yet, how are we to compare the intelligence of species as different as humans, octopi or dolphins?
We live in an age of contradictions. It might well be the age we land on Mars, rule over our own DNA, or fuse two atoms to recreate a star. Alas, it is also the age of Trump, climate change denial, or the spending of millions of euros on pseudociences such as homeopathy.
[caption id="attachment_18596" align="alignleft" width="320"] 2007 commemorative stamp with the face of the physiologist and physician Hans Selye, on the occasion of the one hundred anniversary of his birth. / Mètode[/caption]
What do you see in the picture accompanying this article? The answer will probably be: «two dalmatian dogs, sitting and looking at the front». But they are nothing but black spots over a white background.
For a long time it was considered that emotions were mere physiological responses, basic processes, phylogenetically ancient, where the origin of «primitive» behaviour lies. In short, emotions were considered animal