Most of the critiques of the Mirror Self-Recognition (MSR) test are aimed at false negatives - animals might still be self aware even if they do not pass the test for a wide number of reasons. However, it seems to me that the false positive problems are at least as important, and I can find very little literature on this, apart from everyone loosing their mind that a fish seems to have passed the test.

In particular what I'm wondering about is the following: couldn't the animal touch the mark on itself that it is observing in the mirror not because it is thinking "This is me, and I have a red mark on my face", but simply because there are mirror neurons firing which make the animal "itch" on the same spot on which it observes the mark on "that other animal"? Sort of like how we lick our lips when we see someone else with sauce/beer-foam/whatever on their lips.

Were there instances of the test done which used a window instead of a mirror, with another (marked) animal on the other side?

EDIT: I should clarify that I know very little about psychology/neuroscience, especially when it comes to animals, and I might be referring to "mirror neurons" here in a completely misleading way. I am mainly asking about the "reflex" to "feel what other feels", mainly when it comes to the "tingling" or "itching" sensations, even if that has nothing to do with mirror neurons.



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