Animals cannot use words to explain whether they feel emotions, and scientific opinion on the subject has been divided. Charles Darwin believed animals and humans share a common core of fear, anger, and affection. Today most researchers agree that animals experience comfort or pain. Around 1900 in the United States, however, where intelligence was the dominant interest in the lab and field, animal emotion began as an accidental question. Organisms ranging from insects to primates, already used to test learning, displayed appetites and aversions that pushed psychologists and biologists in new scientific directions. The Americans were committed empiricists, and the routine of devising experiments, observing, and reflecting permitted them to change their minds and encouraged them to do so. By 1980, the emotional behaviour of predatory ants, fearful rats, curious raccoons, resourceful bats, and shy apes was part of American science. In this open-ended environment, the scientists' personal lives – their families, trips abroad, and public service – also affected their professional labour. The Americans kept up with the latest intellectual trends in genetics, evolution, and ethology, and they sometimes pioneered them. But there is a bottom-up story to be told about the scientific consequences of animals and humans brought together in the pursuit of knowledge. The history of the American science of animal emotions reveals the ability of animals to teach and scientists to learn.
Introduction: Surprising Glimpses into Animal Hearts
1. Conversations with the Animals
Life Under the Microscope
2. Animal Appetites Unleashed: The Great War
Out of the Cage
Pugnacity and Other Emotions
Why Do They Run?
3. The Family Passion
The Family Business
4. The Rediscovery of Pain
Doing Harm and Detecting Pain
Traveling a Disordered World
In Praise of Nature
5. Animal Emotions in the Shadows: A War Like No Other
Genes and Organisms
Scientists at a Safe Distance
In the Kingdom of the Beasts
6. The Animal Mind Reinvented
The Animal Found
American Empiricism Forgotten
The Emotional Animal
Appendix: Biographical Notes
Anne C. Rose is Distinguished Professor Emerita of History and Religious Studies at Penn State University, where she taught from 1991 to 2018. She earned an AB at Cornell University and a PhD at Yale University.
"In the Hearts of the Beasts is a remarkable achievement. Rose shows that even during the supposed heyday of behaviorism, when animals were deemed to be 'blank slates,' American comparative psychologists and biologists actually came to realize that their animal subjects had emotions. Packed with fascinating details about the daily lives of the scientists as they lived and worked with their animals, the book treats the animals as active agents that helped shape ideas and theories. For it was their very dedication to uncovering facts about animal lives, Rose brilliantly argues, that allowed these scientists to see into the hearts of their beasts."
– Nadine Weidman, Lecturer on the History of Science, Harvard University
"In the Hearts of the Beasts forcefully demonstrates how the American empirical tradition of scientific inquiry pioneered the study of animal emotions during the long twentieth century. Extensively researched and beautifully written, this is a groundbreaking transnational analysis of a scientific field, the fascinating lives of its human practitioners, and the broader history of human and animal relationships."
– Janet M. Davis, Author of The Gospel of Kindness: Animal Welfare and the Making of Modern America