Bees Have Emotion?

In a new study,researchers have concluded that bees can show an emotional state like that associated with vertebrate animals. Considering the fact that bees are very social and their survival depends upon intricate cooperation, one might not wonder at the possibility they have emotion, or at least their version of it. The researchers found agitated bees displayed expectations of bad outcomes, and reduced levels of neurotransmitters associated with depression. An evolutionary neurobiologist who was not affiliated with study said, “The methodology is sound. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that they are tapping into bee emotions. After all, every animal has to have emotions in order to learn and to make decisions. And we already know from many other studies that bees are really cognitively sophisticated.” (Source:

Pessimism was also observed in dogs–its extent depended on their living situations and events they had experienced. Another animal study about chickensfound that they have empathy, which is also tied to emotion. One study of dogs from the 1960s actually contributed an important concept that is useful in human psychology–learned helplessness. Dogs that were shocked randomly with no chance of stopping the shocks or learning how to escape them, simply became completely passive after some time. Their behavior was seen as consistent with clinical depression in humans.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been aware of some of the research that emotion could be common to many animal species. Historically, humans have viewed themselves as superior to other species. Some even believe other species only exist to serve as food for humans, and we can dominate them without mercy. Fortunately, science is slowly overturning centuries of ignorance. Naysaying to this new bee research is a fairly predictable response, considering some people even deny their own emotions.

Image Credit: Public Domain

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Elisa F.
Elisa F3 years ago

Save the Bees!!!

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago

........, and emotion :-)

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago

And again....., what have LIFE have personalities.............. :-)

Elise Swansborough

I don't find this so surprising. And how wonderful.
I love bees and insects and think they are greatly unappreciated and it worries me when I see how few are around thesedays compared to just a few decades ago. Sad.

Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson5 years ago

Of course they have emotions.

federico bortoletto
federico b5 years ago

Grazie per le informazioni.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

Why wouldn't they have emotions?! Thanks for the article.

Michele Wilkinson

Emotions are not exclusive to humans.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

Jane, once again, the TOPIC is if bees have emotion, NOT whether the species is in danger or bees are dying because of whatever reason. This is a very old discussion, and you commented a year ago in it at great length, but then you got as off topic back then as you are now. For once, will you try to remain on the subject and bother to read the article or be relevant in some way? It's no skin off my nose if you waste your time in these discussions, going off on tirades about everything going on in your head, but it's a waste of my time deleting them from my IN BOX and reading them to see if for once, you have something credible to say. I do read what you post, maybe I just should delete your posts automatically?

Jane Barton
Jane Barton5 years ago

Overuse of pesticides is killing off the bees. When the bees are all killed there will be no way to pollinate our crops and we will all starve. The chemical companies are going to kill us all and it will be a slow, painful death.