This projecting of human emotions on animals is called anthropomorphism (from the Greek words ‘anthropos’ for humans and ‘morphe’ for external form).

Documentary filmmakers always try to empathy with the animal and make you think about what you would do if you were the animal. The use of ‘extreme close-up’ and ‘point of view’ images are essential for this. For example, with an extreme close-up you only see the eye of the animal and in a‘ pointof view ‘ image the camera films what the animal would see through those eyes. Such images make the moment very intimate and emotional, and help the viewer to move around in an animal.

The big risk is that we project our own human emotions onto the animals. And so we hear on television that two birds look at each other in love. Or that a predator lurks at something. But we can’t know at all if an animal is in love or delightful. Hormones are much more likely to play a role, respectively the stomach is gnawing, and the translation of these physiological phenomena into a psychological interpretation is therefore completely misplaced.