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With Apes in Mind: Emergents, Communication & Competence Paperback – May 21, 2013
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The foremost message from this book is the humanity of the great apes. Through research into their minds, Dr. Rumbaugh and colleagues have demonstrated quite clearly that animals - at least primates - possess thought and emotion quite analogous to our own.
This is one of the strongest arguments I have read that animals deserve respect as thinking and feeling beings. The reader must keep in mind that during early research in this area, our culture did not hold this belief. Some psychological research was hurtful to the primates involved. Even some of the early ape language projects that did treat apes as feeling beings seemed to result in frustration on the part of the apes. Dr. Rumbaugh's computerized lexigram system changed all that for two reasons: 1) It gave the apes direct and much more complex control over their own "experiments" and 2) it ultimately led to the discovery that Kanzi picked up language untaught as a toddler.
This second achievement led to a monumental paradigm shift in our understanding of the ape mind. Rumbaugh touches on the root of this insight, which is that comprehension, not production, is the key to language.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very informative, interesting story. I love our cousins, the apes! Duane Rumbaugh writes in a very witty fashion and makes it a fun read.Published on December 5, 2013 by Jacob Wittlief