Can Fruit Flies Feel Emotion?

Can Fruit Flies Feel Emotion?

Fly researchers have recently claimed that they have found evidence that flies can feel fear. They have also found that animals in an apparent fear state display qualities similar to mammals. While scientists have yet to classify these responses as emotions, they suggest that they may be more complicated than the standard avoidance response.

In order to answer the question, researchers will need to study how fruit flies respond to visual threats, including shadows overhead. Their findings could help explain the physiological processes that lead to fear and anxiety in mammals. Ultimately, this research could help scientists determine the genetics and neurochemistry that lead to these feelings.

Researchers first looked into whether flies could feel fear by testing them in the presence of a fear-inducing stimulus. To do this, they placed an apparatus above their habitat that passed a dark paddle. The flies would freeze or leap away when the paddle passed overhead, and the frequency of these responses increased with the number of repetitions.

The responses of flies to pain are similar to those of humans. When they experience pain, they respond to it with a desire to prevent further damage. These responses are similar to what humans experience, though it is unclear if other insects have the same reaction.