Academic journal article et Cetera

Do Animals Think?

Academic journal article et Cetera

Do Animals Think?

Article excerpt

Clive D.L. Wynne. Do Animals Think? Princeton, NJ: 2004.

In comparing humans with animals, psychology professor Clive D.L. Wynne, proposes a sandwich analogy. It looks like this:

The bottom layer of the sandwich is a layer of dissimilarity, based on the notion that each species on this planet lives in a unique sensory world - e.g., the sonar of the hunting bat, the rich sense of smell dogs enjoy, the ability of birds to detect changes in air pressure. At this level there is no denying the diversity of the animal kingdom.

The middle layer is a layer of similarity. Here we find basic psychological processes like learning, some kinds of memory, and simple concept formation such as identifying objects as being the same or different. This level shows that there are some commonalties that human and animal minds share because we are living on the same planet and descended from the same slimy ancestors.

Wynne notes that at the top layer of the sandwich, after forty years of trying, we can say definitively that no nonhuman primate (or other species) has ever developed anything equivalent to human language. Animals do not think abstractly and they show very little interest in placing themselves imaginatively into another's perspective on events. …

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