By Donald R. Griffin
"Animal Minds tackles a query that's either interesting and demanding. the overpowering physique of facts that Donald Griffin has assembled places past moderate doubt the case for spotting that many non-human animals . . . are in a position to even more subtle pondering than many scientists were ready to believe."--Peter Singer, writer of Animal Liberation.
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Additional resources for Animal Minds
Few insea larvae occur where the stalks of aquatic plants are closely spaced, but many can be expected to emerge at the outer edges of such areas. Female blackbirds may be looking for signs of future food sources as they decide where to settle and build their nests. Behavioral ecologists tend to assume that some genetically determined action pattern guides these choices. They seldom allow themselves to speculate about any possible thoughts of blackbirds that examine several marshy areas, and choose one only after devoting a considerable amount of time.
The relatively simple content of animal thoughts and subjective feelings is almost certainly relevant to the animal's own situation rather than to human concerns. This makes the quest for evidence of consciousness more difficult than if we were searching for a single, well-defined entity comparable, say, to color vision. But the lack of simplicity does not render something unimportant or impossible to detect, analyze, and understand. Objections of "Inclusive Behaviorists" Many people find it difficult to understand why so many behavioral scientists are adamantly reluctant to consider animal consciousness.
This is well illustrated by the experiments of Pietrewicz and Kamil (1981), who applied to bluejays instead of pigeons the type of operant conditioning procedures developed by psychologists. Naive bluejays were adept at learning how to pick out cryptically colored moths resting on backgrounds very similar to their own appearance. Animals cannot ordinarily predia what objects are likely to indicate the presence of food, and an ability to learn about novel signs of food is useful to many species.