Dolphin Cognition and Behavior: A Comparative Approach

By Ronald J. Schusterman; Jeanette A. Thomas et al. | Go to book overview

constituents. Although many constituents of general cognitive complexes like intelligence are qualitatively different among species, thereby presenting some serious difficulties, it is argued that some significant comparisons of achievements are possible. A list of some thirty items in five categories is offered, representing potentially quantifiable aspects of these constituents, confined to overt behavioral endpoints. This long range agenda derives many items from the most distinctively human characteristics since a major part of the comparative challenge is to assess the degree of similarity or difference with respect to the human species. It is claimed that even the more subtle and high level features can, with ingenuity, be estimated in a semiquantitative way. It is also asserted that subjective judgments on more difficult features, by ethologists who have qualified themselves for the given species are not without value and should be debated and refined by the game rules of scientific literature. The importance is emphasized (i) of quantitation of each trait (ii) of graded estimators of widely different level and (iii) of multiple measures.


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