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Interessant artikkel fra NGM.


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Jeg fikk nettopp National Geographic (amerikansk versjon) i postkassa, hvor det var en utrolig spennende artikkel om "Animal Minds". Bl.a om en Border Collie, Betsy, som lærer ord raskere enn små barn.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/03/...nia-morell-text

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In an effort to be more rigorous, many embraced behaviorism, which regarded animals as little more than machines, and focused their studies on the laboratory white rat—since one "machine" would behave like any other.

Even our closest relatives, the great apes, can't do what Betsy can do

This is the larger lesson of animal cognition research: It humbles us. We are not alone in our ability to invent or plan or to contemplate ourselves—or even to plot and lie.

Whenever they find a mental skill in a species that is reminiscent of a special human ability, the human cognition scientists change the definition. But the animal researchers may underestimate their power—it is their discoveries that compel the human side to shore up the divide.

Sometimes the human cognitive psychologists can be so fixed on their definitions that they forget how fabulous these animal discoveries are

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Young Kanzi began picking up language on his own—observing scientists trying to train his mother. At 27, the bonobo "talks" using more than 360 keyboard symbols and understands thousands of spoken words. He forms sentences, follows novel instructions, and crafts stone tools—altering his technique depending on a stone's hardness. He even plays piano (he once jammed with Peter Gabriel). Lodge us together with bonobos for 15 generations, says Great Ape Trust's William Fields, "and the bonobos would become less bonobo, the people less human. We aren't really that different." Case in point, Fields is now analyzing Kanzi's vocalizations: "We think he may be speaking English words, just too fast and high-pitched for us to decode."
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