With Apes in Mind provides a compelling narrative that demystifies the scientific method. Duane Rumbaugh captures the personal experiences and emotions of advancing scientific knowledge through the spirit of inquiry and innovative research. Easy-to-read descriptions of research studies of primate cognition along with well-chosen illustrations and pictures make the material accessible to a broad audience.
The book illustrates how to be a productive and creative researcher through the examples of studying primate cognition. Summaries of progressive research findings demonstrate the value of reflection on the limitations of test apparatus and research design in revealing the capability of primate learning. How a question is posed to research subjects clearly impacts what we are able to discover. The book also exemplifies the value of recognizing the partnership in learning along with research participants, in this case, great apes. Being open to observing the unexpected response of research participants advances scientific thought. What the great apes bring to the research and the researcher are essential to the emergent theory of primate cognition. With Apes in Mind would be an excellent supplemental reading for undergraduate and graduate courses on research methodology, evolutionary biology, and comparative psychology.
The great apes stand out the most for the reader of the book. The minds of Lana, Sherman, Austin, Kanzi, and others dispel any notions that great apes are other than our closest relatives. Any theory of primate learning must account for their demonstrated emergent behaviors, communication, and competence.