Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2003), 26:3:346-346 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © 2003 Cambridge University Press

Short Communication

Significant uncertainty is common in nature

Donald R. Griffin a1
a1 Concord Field Station, Harvard University, Bedford, MA 01730


In animals' natural lives, uncertainty is normal; and certainty, exceptional. Evaluating ambiguous information is essential for survival: Does what is seen, heard, or smelled mean danger? Does that gesture mean aggression or fear? Is he confident or uncertain? If they are conscious of anything, the content of animals' awareness probably includes crucial uncertainties, both their own and those of others.