There is plenty of evidence for what scientists refer to as primary emotions – happiness and fear, for example – in animals. But empirical evidence for secondary emotions like jealousy, pride, and guilt, is extremely rare in the animal cognition literature. The argument usually given for this lack of evidence is that such secondary emotions seem to require a level of cognitive sophistication, particularly when it comes to self-awareness or self-consciousness, that may not exist in non-human animals. In other words, guilt is complicated.
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- I've lived with dogs all my growing years. I don't know whether they feel guilty, but they sure as hell know when they ought to hide some mischief. That's when they really avoid eye contact or appearing before you. Also i noticed that not all dogs will do this- they more you communicate with your dog, the more they respond. I am certain that in certain households where dogs are "trophy", communication between man and dog is nearly non-existent.Jun 2, 2012