The Umwelt: The Semiotic World Of Dog

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The “Umwelt” of a particular organism can be interpreted as the semiotic world of that organism, and “Umwelt is not simply the environment in general, but the environment which holds significance for any particular species” (Wheeler, 101). With this in mind, the semiotic world of a female human and the semiotic world of dog are distinctive in their biological differences and the ways in which they perceive a particular scenario. One scenario is a “perceived threat” where a human female is walking her dog and a threat is viewed through both the Umwelt of the human and of the dog. The ways in which they perceive the situation are different, and this essay will examine how emotional response affects their perception, how biological differences …show more content…

These characteristics influence her Umwelt, and the human brain is much more intelligent then that of a dog. As Marian Dawkins proposes, “we can either concentrate on our breathing, consciously deciding when to breathe in and when to breathe out, or do it all unconsciously and automatically” (Dawkins, 8) and her words bring to light the concept that human beings have a complex though process. The semiotic world for the woman mentioned would be shaped by her ability to make decisions and to have complex thought. In contemporary society, there is also the influence of media and Internet to consider when analyzing the human perception. Take, for instance, the scenario where the woman takes her dog for a walk. This is a routine walk that occurs every evening; she takes the same path, at the same time, however when she turns into the dark alley—the dim lighting somehow makes it unfamiliar. Brownlee furthers the idea of human complex minds by discussing how we …show more content…

The darkness, or in this scenario, the lack of light, brings on a “perceived threat” within the darkness. As suggested by Li et al, “most people, especially children, have a fear of darkness. Environmental darkness…may elicit unpleasant feelings, such as insecurity, tension, or anxiety, by suggesting potential dangers and risks” (Li, et al, 46). In this case, it stands to reason that the woman will have a semiotic response to the threat due to cultural conditioning. This conditioning may comes from real-world threats that may be from the woman’s past experiences, instinctive thought, or even exposure to recent news reports of a similar nature. Her Umwelt becomes clouded by cultural paranoia, and as Li et al continues, they examine how the female brain examines the fear of darkness as “when the darkness is associated with an imagined and anticipated aversive event (thoughts of evil, death, and danger) that it can result in a more abstract mental representation of the threat value and aversive properties of the darkness” (Li, et al, 55). Darkness becomes abstract, and the epistemic judgment she makes is created through her Umwelt, as our brain tells up what our eyes are seeing, but it takes out own interpretation of the semiotics to translate it and know what we are truely seeing. As Li et al states, “darkness (a purely physical variable) creates the perception of fear may not

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