THE THREE SYSTEMS IN ANIMALS AND INFANTS
When one considers the magnificent plumage of a toucan or peacock, the alluring sounds of a nightingale or hummingbird, it is tempting to conclude that other members of these species are audience members, experiencing pleasurable aesthetic reactions to these displays. Similarly, the ape feverishly at work on a canvas or the parrot playing with sounds may easily seem engaged in artistic creation. We shall examine some of these activities, as well as a more general range of competences, in order to determine whether animals and human infants are participants in the artistic process, and, if not, to specify the reason why they are barred from this pursuit. We will then describe the three systems in animals and young children, specify the mechanisms governing their development, and analyze their relation to the symbolic activity involved in the arts. Just as understanding of the normal personality can be enhanced through a study of schizophrenia, or the phenomenon of language elucidated through an examination of aphasia, so the defining properties of the arts may be revealed through a treatment of activities that resemble in some way, yet are not equivalent to, the artistic process.
The ethologist Desmond Morris gave his young chimpanzee Congo a pencil and carefully studied his "drawing activity" during ensuing months. Morris found that even the very first scratchings were not random: "[Congo] carried in him, the germ, no matter how primitive,
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Publication information: Book title: The Arts and Human Development:A Psychological Study of the Artistic Process. Contributors: Howard Gardner - Author. Publisher: Basic Books. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 53.
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