Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

The Mirror Test

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The mirror test—sometimes called the mark test, mirror self-recognition test (MSR), red spot technique, or rouge test—is a behavioural technique developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. as an attempt to determine whether an animal possesses the ability of visual self-recognition. The MSR test is the traditional method for attempting to measure self-awareness. However, agreement has been reached that animals can be self-aware in ways not measured by the mirror test, such as distinguishing between their own and others’ songs and scents. Conversely, animals that can pass the MSR do not necessarily have self-awareness.

In the classic MSR test, an animal is anaesthetised and then marked (e.g., painted, or a sticker attached) on an area of the body the animal cannot normally see. When the animal recovers from the anesthetic, it is given access to a mirror. If the animal then touches or investigates the mark, it is taken as an indication that the animal perceives the reflected image as itself, rather than of another animal.

Very few species have passed the MSR test, including the great apes (including humans), a single Asiatic elephant, dolphins, orcas, and the Eurasian magpie. A wide range of species has been reported to fail the test, including several species of monkeys, giant pandas, and sea lions.

The Mirror Test - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

ANIMALS THAT HAVE PASSED THE TEST

Bottlenose dolphin
Killer whale
Bonobo
Bornean orangutan
Chimpanzee
Human
Asian elephant
Eurasian magpie
Cleaner wrasses
Ants

ANIMALS THAT HAVE FAILED

Sea lions
Giant panda
Gibbon
Stump-tailed macaque
Crab-eating macaque
Rhesus macaque
Black-and-white colobus
Capuchin monkey
Hamadryas baboon
Cotton-top tamarin
Grey parrot
New Caledonian crow
Jackdaw
Great tit

ROBOTS
In 2012, early steps were taken to make a robot pass the mirror test.[66]

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