By Clive Wynne | Psychology Today
Consciousness is not a tidy all-or-nothing entity; it varies with age, culture, experience and gender. And if animals have conscious experiences, these presumably vary widely as well. it might help to consider what an animal might be conscious of. It seems more likely than not that some animals are aware of objects and events that are critically important in their lives, such as what food is tasty, which animals are dangerous predators, and whether particular companions are friendly or aggressive.
The fact is that we lack adequate methods to identify conclusively what behavior is "conscious." But scientific study of consciousness is undergoing a renaissance as reflected in recent books, conferences and journals. And these investigations have begun to include nonhuman consciousness. In particular, Alan Cowey of Oxford University and Petra Stoerig of the Institute of Medical Psychology at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Germany have developed procedures by which a monkey can signal whether or not it is consciously aware of a particular visual stimulus.