Mental capacities of fishes

Lynne U. Sneddon, Culum Brown

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Fish models are increasingly used in a wide variety of experimental contexts and their adoption is growing globally. This chapter reviews the evidence for sentience and cognitive abilities in fishes to highlight the growing empirical evidence of the mental capacities of fish. The definition of sentience is presented along with the scientific data pertinent to understanding what fishes are capable of, as well as higher order cognitive abilities such as numerical skills and the capacity for learning and memory. Being able to experience positive and negative welfare states such as pain, fear, and stress is highly debated for fishes; thus this chapter reviews the evidence for and arguments against conscious perception of pain and fear. If suffering and sentience are accepted in fishes, this has ethical implications for the way in which we use fish in scientific studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNeuroethics and Nonhuman Animals
    EditorsL. Syd M Johnson, Andrew Fenton, Adam Shriver
    Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
    PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Electronic)9783030310110
    ISBN (Print)9783030310103
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Publication series

    NameAdvances in Neuroethics
    ISSN (Print)2522-5677
    ISSN (Electronic)2522-5685


    • Animal sentience
    • Cognition
    • Intelligence
    • Learning
    • Memory
    • Pain
    • Welfare


    Dive into the research topics of 'Mental capacities of fishes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this