Animal Cognition: Introduction to Modern Comparative Psychology
By: Jacques Vauclair (author)Hardback
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"Animal Cognition" presents a clear, concise and comprehensive overview of what we know about cognitive processes in animals. Focusing mainly on what has been learned from experimental research, Vauclair presents a wide-ranging review of studies of many kinds of animals - bees and wasps, cats and dogs, dolphins and sea otters, pigeons and titmice, baboons, chimpanzees, vervet monkeys, and Japanese macaques. He also offers a discussion of the ways Piaget's theory of cognitive development and Piagetian concepts may be used to develop models for the study of animal cognition. Individual chapters review the current state of our knowledge about specific kinds of cognition in animals: tool use and spatial and temporal representations; social cognition - how animals manage their relational life and the cognitive organization that sustains social behaviours; representation, communication and language; and imitation, self-recognition and the theory of mind - what animals know about themselves. The book closes with Vauclair's "agenda for comparative cognition".
Here he examines the relationship of the experimental approach to other fields and methods of inquiry, such as cognitive ethology, and the ecological approach to species comparisons. It is here, too, that Vauclair addresses the key issue of continuity, or its absence, between animal and human cognition. Given our still limited knowledge of cognitive systems in animals, Vauclair argues, researchers should be less concerned with the "why" question - the evolutionary or ecological explanations for differences in cognition between the species - and more concerned with the "what" - the careful work that is needed to increase our understanding of similarities and differences in cognitive processes. This book should be of use to students of animal behaviour and to anyone who desires a better understanding of humankind's relations to other living creatures.
Jacques Vauclair is Director of Research at the Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience of the Center for Scientific Research in Marseilles, France.
Preface 1. Origins and Development of the Study of Animal Cognition The Darwinian Heritage and Nineteenth-Century Psychology The Behaviorist Break The Emergence of the Cognitive Approach The Modern Concepts of Representation and Memory The Study of Representation in Animals Problems Posed by the Study of Cognition in Animals 2. Laboratory Methods for Assessing Representation in Animals Learning Sets Mastery of Relations between Stimuli Category Formation Serial Learning as Evidence of Nonverbal Thought Mental Images in Animals Summary and Current Debate 3. Piagetian Studies in Animal Psychology Developmental Psychology and Comparative Psychology The Development of Intelligence Sensorimotor Activities in Animals "Concrete Operations" in Animals Summary and Current Debate 4. Tool Use and Spatial and Temporal Representations Tool Use Spatial Representations Temporal Representations Summary and Current Debate 5. Social Cognition Experimental Methods for the Study of Social Cognition Social Cognition in Monkeys Social versus Nonsocial Cognition Suggestions for Future Research Summary and Current Debate 6. Animal Communication and Human Language Comparisons of Animal and Human Communication Language-Trained Animals Differences in the Use of Signs by Apes and Children Pre-Linguistic Communication in Human Infants and Chimpanzee Infants Summary and Current Debate 7. Imitation, Self-Recognition, and the Theory of Mind Is There Evidence for Imitation in Animals? The Attribution of Mental States in Animals Self-Knowledge and Self-Recognition Relationships between Mirror Recognition, Social Attribution, Imitation, and Teaching Summary and Current Debate 8. An Agenda for Comparative Cognitive Studies Cognitive Ethology: Mental Representations or Mental Experiences? The Generalist versus Ecological Approach to Animal Cognition Conclusions References Index
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