The Cognitive Animal
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The Cognitive Animal

Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition

Edited by Marc Bekoff, Colin Allen and Gordon M. Burghardt

A Bradford Book





The fifty-seven original essays in this book provide a comprehensive overview of the interdisciplinary field of animal cognition. The contributors include cognitive ethologists, behavioral ecologists, experimental and developmental psychologists, behaviorists, philosophers, neuroscientists, computer scientists and modelers, field biologists, and others. The diversity of approaches is both philosophical and methodological, with contributors demonstrating various degrees of acceptance or disdain for such terms as "consciousness" and varying degrees of concern for laboratory experimentation versus naturalistic research. In addition to primates, particularly the nonhuman great apes, the animals discussed include antelopes, bees, dogs, dolphins, earthworms, fish, hyenas, parrots, prairie dogs, rats, ravens, sea lions, snakes, spiders, and squirrels. The topics include (but are not limited to) definitions of cognition, the role of anecdotes in the study of animal cognition, anthropomorphism, attention, perception, learning, memory, thinking, consciousness, intentionality, communication, planning, play, aggression, dominance, predation, recognition, assessment of self and others, social knowledge, empathy, conflict resolution, reproduction, parent-young interactions and caregiving, ecology, evolution, kin selection, and neuroethology.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262025140 504 pp. | 9 in x 7 in


$56.00 X | £44.00 ISBN: 9780262523226 504 pp. | 9 in x 7 in


Marc Bekoff

Marc Bekoff is Professor of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Colin Allen

Colin Allen is Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University. He is the coauthor of Nature's Purposes (MIT Press, 1998), Species of Mind (MIT Press, 1997), and The Cognitive Animal (MIT Press, 2001).

Gordon M. Burghardt

Gordon Burghardt is Alumni Distinguished Professor in Psychology and in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. He is a coeditor of The Cognitive Animal (MIT Press, 2002), past president of the Animal Behavior Society, and editor of the Journal of Comparative Psychology.


  • The Cognitive Animal is the most complete and up-to-date collection of available information on the study of animal cognitive abilities. It covers numerous species and areas of research and is written in a way that makes the information accessible to readers who are not specialists in the cognitive sciences. The book also makes clear that a great deal more research needs to be done in this field, and it presents a challenging future agenda. The more we understand about the cognitive skills of the amazing animals with whom we share our planet, the greater will be our respect for them.

    Jane Goodall

    author of The Chimpanzees of Gombe and The Ten Trusts