A new way to look at the mysteries of the animal mind
What is animal intelligence? In what ways is it similar to human intelligence? Many behavioral scientists have realized that animals can be rational, can think in abstract symbols, can understand and react to human speech, and can learn through observation as well as conditioning many of the more complicated skills of life. Now Duane Rumbaugh and David Washburn probe the mysteries of the animal mind even further, identifying an advanced level of animal behavior—emergents—that reflects animals’ natural and active inclination to make sense of the world. Rumbaugh and Washburn unify all behavior into a framework they call Rational Behaviorism and present it as a new way to understand learning, intelligence, and rational behavior in both animals and humans. Drawing on years of research on issues of complex learning and intelligence in primates (notably rhesus monkeys, chimpanzees, and bonobos), Rumbaugh and Washburn provide delightful examples of animal ingenuity and persistence, showing that animals are capable of very creative solutions to novel challenges. The authors analyze learning processes and research methods, discuss the meaningful differences across the primate order, and point the way to further advances, enlivening theoretical material about primates with stories about their behavior and achievements.
Duane M. Rumbaugh, Regents Professor emeritus in the Departments of Psychology and Biology at Georgia State University, is the cofounder and recent director of the Language Research Center there. David A. Washburn is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and director of the Language Research Center at Georgia State University.
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