The fifty-seven original essays in The Cognitive Animal provide a comprehensive overview of the interdisciplinary field of animal cognition. The contributors include cognitive ethologists, behavioral ecologists, experimental and developmental psychologists, behaviorists, philosophers, neuroscientists, computer scientists and modelers, field biologists, and others. The diversity of approaches is both philosophical and methodological, with contributors demonstrating various degrees of acceptance or disdain for such terms as "consciousness" and varying degrees of concern for laboratory experimentation versus naturalistic research. In addition to primates, particularly the nonhuman great apes, the animals discussed include antelopes, bees, dogs, dolphins, earthworms, fish, hyenas, parrots, prairie dogs, rats, ravens, sea lions, snakes, spiders, and squirrels. The topics include (but are not limited to) definitions of cognition, the role of anecdotes in the study of animal cognition, anthropomorphism, attention, perception, learning, memory, thinking, consciousness, intentionality, communication, planning, play, aggression, dominance, predation, recognition, assessment of self and others, social knowledge, empathy, conflict resolution, reproduction, parent-young interactions and caregiving, ecology, evolution, kin selection, and neuroethology.
Marc Bekoff is Professor of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Colin Allen is Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University. He is the coauthor of Nature's Purposes (1998), Species of Mind (1997), and The Cognitive Animal (2001). Gordon Burghardt is Alumni Distinguished Professor in Psychology and in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. He is a coeditor of The Cognitive Animal (2002), past president of the Animal Behavior Society, and editor of the Journal of Comparative Psychology.
The Cognitive Animal is the most complete and up-to-date collection of available information on the study of animal cognitive abilities. The articles, covering numerous species and areas of research, are written in a way that makes the information accessible to readers who are not specialists in the cognitive sciences. This book also makes clear that a great deal more research needs to be done in this field, and it presents a challenging future agenda. The more we understand about the cognitive skills of the amazing animals with whom we share our planet, the greater will be our respect for them. --Jane Goodall, author of Reason for Hope and The Chimpanzees of Gombe