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Animal Cognition: The Mental Lives of Animals Paperback – 11 Oct 2001

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (11 Oct. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333923960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333923962
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 491,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'This book communicates the intriguing facts about animal cognition, and how fascinating it can be to investigate animal minds, without talking down to the reader, exaggerating animals' mental capacities, or implying that outstanding questions have been answered...A very unusual combination.' - Professor Cecilia Heyes, University College London

'Wynne writes clearly, engages the reader well, and gives lots of examples and anecdotes but does not sacrifice rigour.' - Professor Michael Corballis, University of Auckland

'Extremely readable, particularly for undergraduates...the first book of its kind that is well-suited for an advanced undergraduate course rather than for a graduate course.' - Professor Tom Zentall, University of Kentucky

'An excellent introduction to animal cognition...Coverage is impressively thorough...Wynne has a delightfully engaging, informal style. It is clear that the author enjoys what he is writing about, and this enjoyment is readily conveyed to the reader.' - Professor John Pearce, Cardiff University

About the Author

CLIVE WYNNE is Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Florida. He was educated at University College London and Edinburgh University, and has since undertaken research in Germany, the US and Australia. He is Consulting Editor of the journal Animal Learning and Behavior and reviewer for Behavioural and Brain Sciences, Cognition, European Journal of Neuroscience, International Journal of Comparative Psychology, and many others.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wynne's writing style in this text is extremely easy to comprehend and proves a valuable text in the study of animal cognition. The book isn't terribly large and I read it over a weekend, although by the end I was glad I had finished it. It covers all basic levels of animal cognition from Pavlovian conditioning through to communication and brain size among species. My main disappointment with this book is but a personal one, I wanted to understand communication amongst domestic animals but instead learnt of bees and rather a lot about birds! Wynne however has handled the topics well and this book forms a good level of understanding to everyone.
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Format: Paperback
I have just trawled through this book over the last week or so and possibly found it the biggest pile of hogwash I've ever encountered. It provides information on studies that claim to measure animals' intelligence and it does nothing of the kind. It provides a pile of anecdotes and 'studies' that do nothing but prove that animals are not like us (not necessarily a measure of lack of intelligence, really!), and one of the things that they (animals) don't do is inflict misery on other species of animals just to acquire so called 'knowledge'. We are all the centre of our own little worlds (individual-wise and species-wise) and these studies ALL assume that humans are the centre of the universe and therefore the most intelligent. I kept thinking that it would get better and that the author would come to the conclusion that the studies were human centred and highly influenced by human environments and human interference and couldn't possibly come to any valid conclusions as a result, but, I've come to nearly the end and it hasn't got any better (apart from perhaps the story of Clever Hans, google it). I will finish it because I started it, but that's the only reason. We have all evolved, we are all survivors (despite human attempts to make it otherwise) and so we are all equal. Because a creature can't count to 10 doesn't mean that it has failed an intelligence test, just because it can't reason, or talk like a human, also doesn't make it a failure. If you want to know about animals and how they communicate or get along in the world, then don't get this book, unless you want to study humans and how they waste their time locking rats and pigeons in boxes in order to measure something that is possibly immeasurable because they can only do it from their own human perspective. FAILED THE TEST, HUMANS! Ach.
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Really helpful for my course.
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Format: Paperback
This book is brilliantly written I recommend this to any animal/dog behaviourist defenitely on to have as a reference book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A students perspective 5 Dec. 2010
By Sondre Skarsten - Published on
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This will be a very hasty review, which i will get back to and actually do justice to once this semester ends and i will have some time. For now all i will say is that this book was a thoroughly enjoyable read (it is the only university textbook i have sat down and read cover to cover even before the semester started) which gives a brief and well balanced introduction to animal cognition. With the focus being on well balanced. If you want to read about how amazing it that capuchin monkeys can show envy, then this is probably not the book for you, but neither is it the book for those who want to read skinnerian stimulus-response account of animal behavior.

This book does what any good textbook should do and that is stick to what is the accepted norm within research on animal cognition. As we learn more, this perspective will change, and so will this textbook, however for now, it maintains a perspective which i believe to be well balanced for a basic introduction to animal cognition.

Another commenter commented on its associations to UF, now i can not say anything on the school as a wholes political agenda, but was i will say, as a norwegian left wing liberal, who thinks the democrats are atrociously conservative and the republicans a joke, not once while reading this book did i feel myself being preached to.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Student's Perspective 22 Mar. 2014
By Sanampreet Rajput - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think this is a great book for educational purposes. It gets the basic message of simplistic Animal Cognition across and does it quite well. The book is not written as a traditional textbook, but more of a story. Each chapter builds on the previous and each chapter contains examples from the author's life. In all honesty, it's a fun read not just for students, but anyone who wants to enjoy a good book.
On the downside the author of this book is extremely biased. He ignores evidence on purpose, and dismisses evidence quite quickly. I believe that this book is extremely narrow-minded and limited. It's only capable of giving a very basic understanding of Animal Cognition. I also believe that what the book gets across should not be followed at all, except for basic concepts. The reason being again, that the author is extremely biased. I only read this book for leisure, as I did not agree with most of the stuff presented in the book. Even for assignments, I argued against Clive, and I did pretty well on the assignments, which shows that this book is really not that great for educational purposes.
With all that said, I still believe it's a great book, but as I said before, only for casual reading, not for extracting useful information.
20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Choice For Your Classroom 1 Jun. 2009
By Drew Hensley - Published on
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This is a textbook on the subject of animal intelligence, which is a much better book than the author's popular level book, Do Animals Think? The text includes very lucid descriptions of animal "IQ tests." I have to say that Dr. Wynne has a remarkable ability to explain academic matters in very simple English. However, the book is strangely personal and jaded for a classroom textbook. At one point in this textbook, the author tells a story about a friend bringing him a newspaper article about dolphins having sex just for fun. He tells his friend that the article is "ridiculous." He goes on to say why he thinks the article is "ridiculous" but never states why the article makes such an assertion about dolphins. In other words, he never addresses the researchers' reasons for thinking the dolphins have sex just for pleasure. Of course, he could be correct on all of his points, but I'm warning you before you spend good money on his books: This animal researcher has a strangely hand-waving, dismissive, cynical attititude towards the whole idea of animal intelligence and emotion. It really is very odd. He seems determined to expose what he calls the foolishness of popluar opinion about animals. He wants to say that the scientists or philosophers who believe in animal rights and intelligence (a growing number) are just idealogues, or they are being politically correct. If you are a cynic yourself, check out the "Smart Crow" videos over at Youtube.

Now there is something I must tell you. You can take it or leave it. Here it goes: Dr. Wynne teaches at the University of Florida, which is a notoriously conservative institution that propagates Republican thought in economics, political science, religious studies, etc. I'm sorry to have to say this, but it is a well-known, little-advertised fact about UF. I'm sorry but I sincerely want you to know this before you pull out your credit card - Dr. Wynne has a bias, too - which he has been known to admit to at times. If you shop around, you will see that there are some very objective and readable books out there such as Animal Learning & Cognition, 3rd Edition by Dr. Pearce, Minds of Their Own by Lesley Rogers, The Cognitive Animal (multiple authors), Animal Intelligence by Dr. Zhana Reznikova, The Smartest Animals on the Planet by Dr. Sally Boysen, and Cognition, Evolution & Behavior by Sara Shettleworth.

As I said, the author is an excellent writer. His thoughts are clearly expressed without academic jargon. This textbook on animal intelligence is probably the most readable textbook on this subject currently in publication. However, his analysis is awful. For example, concerning the mark mirror recognition test on chimps, he argues that mirror recogntion does not indicate self-awareness, because one could imagine a robot being programed to identify itself in a mirror! What a stupid remark! His critique of mirror recognition in dolphins is equally pathetic. He says nothing about positive results (disputed results, however) from research on birds, dogs and pigs. His interpretation of signs of self-awareness in other animals is that they have an "own-body concept." I see this as a clear avoidance of the conclusion that animals have consciousness. You will notice how annoyed the author is at the concept of apes and humans being genetically near identical. He actually attempts to argue that this universally accepted conclusion is incorrect. His work is hyper-critical and selective.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 3 Sept. 2014
By Janet Howell - Published on
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 5 Aug. 2014
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