Do Earth Worms Have Emotions?


"Earth Worm" by DJ SINGH is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Step 1

Do earth worms have emotions?

Step 2

The words and phrases below will appear in the text. Use the various Quizlet study modes to get used to the words. Enjoy!

Step 4

Practice pronouncing the following vocabulary.

Step 5

In pairs, read the article aloud one sentence each, and answer the questions.

Brain research is very important in modern science, and “emotion” is a major topic.

Studying emotions in animals has been difficult, mostly focusing on ‘fear’ in mice and rats. But since the 2010s, scientists have been finding evidence that even crayfish and flies may have brain functions similar to emotions, like persistence and valence. For example, when animals face danger, they might stay in a safe place for a while, even if they’re hungry. This suggests they might have primitive forms of emotion, although we don’t know much about it yet.

An international team of researchers from Japan and the USA studied tiny roundworms called Caenorhabditis elegans. These worms are useful for studying basic functions like perception, memory, and decision-making at the cellular and genetic levels. The team found that when they gave the worms electric shocks, the worms moved very quickly for 1-2 minutes, even after the several seconds long shocks stopped. This is unusual because animals usually stop responding to a stimulus immediately once it’s gone.

During and after the shocks, the worms ignored their food, which they normally pay a lot of attention to. This suggests that avoiding danger is more important to them than finding food. This behavior of the worms might reflect basic “emotions”.

Through genetic analysis, the team found that worms without certain hormones ran for longer after the shocks than normal worms. This suggests that the brain’s response to danger is controlled by genes and ends when it’s safe again. This is important because if emotions like excitement or fear last too long, it can disrupt our lives.

Studying worms can help us understand the genetic basis of emotions. Many genes in worms are similar to genes in humans, so studying worms could help us find new treatments for emotional disorders like depression.

Step 6

Answer the short poll question.

Loading poll ...
These Ants Can Diagnose and Treat Their Comrades’ Infected Wounds
These Ants Can Diagnose and Treat Their Comrades’ Infected Wounds
Greta Thunberg Calls COP28 Outcome a ‘Betrayal’
Greta Thunberg Calls COP28 Outcome a ‘Betrayal’
UK’s Met Office Warns Global Temperature Could Soar Beyond 1.5°C Threshold Within Five Years
UK’s Met Office Warns Global Temperature Could Soar Beyond 1.5°C Threshold Within Five Years
Scientists Call for ‘Global Agricultural Revolution’ and ‘Planetary Health Diet’ to Save Lives—and Earth
Scientists Call for ‘Global Agricultural Revolution’ and ‘Planetary Health Diet’ to Save Lives—and Earth
‘Scary’: Warming of Oceans Is Equivalent to 1.5 Atomic Bombs Every Second Over Past 150 Years
‘Scary’: Warming of Oceans Is Equivalent to 1.5 Atomic Bombs Every Second Over Past 150 Years
previous arrow
next arrow

Homework

Write your thoughts about today’s lesson in your journal.

Rate this post