Apes, Monkeys, Children, and the Growth of Mind (Developing Child) (The Developing Child)

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9780674011458: Apes, Monkeys, Children, and the Growth of Mind (Developing Child) (The Developing Child)
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What can the study of young monkeys and apes tell us about the minds of young humans? In this fascinating introduction to the study of primate minds, Juan Carlos Gomez identifies evolutionary resemblances - and differences - between human children and other primates. He argues that primate minds are best understood not as fixed collections of specialised cognitive capacities, but more dynamically, as a range of abilities that can surpass their original adaptations. In a lively overview of a distinguished body of cognitive developmental research among non-human primates, Gomez looks at knowledge of the physical world, causal reasoning (including the chimpanzee-like errors that human children make), and the contentious subjects of ape language, theory of mind, and imitation. Attempts to teach language to chimpanzees, as well as studies of the quality of some primate vocal communication in the wild, make a powerful case that primates have a natural capacity for relatively sophisticated communication, and considerable power to learn when humans teach them. Gomez concludes that for all cognitive psychology's interest in perception, information processing, and reasoning, some essential functions of mental life are based on ideas that cannot be explicitly articulated. Nonhuman and human primates alike rely on implicit knowledge. Studying nonhuman primates helps us to understand perplexing aspect of all primate minds.

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Review:

[Gomez] aims to learn about our human minds, both how they originated and what their nature is, by looking at experimental studies with other primates. The book is a delightfully dense account of a wide range of such studies. This exploration into the historical and evolutionary heritage of the last great mystery-the human mind-is enlightening, informative, and simply a wonderful reminder of how complex evolutionary variation really is.--Robin L. Zebrowski"Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences" (03/01/2008)

About the Author:

Juan Carlos Gomez is Lecturer in Psychology at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

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9780674022393: Apes, Monkeys, Children, and the Growth of Mind (The Developing Child)

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ISBN 10:  0674022394 ISBN 13:  9780674022393
Publisher: Harvard University Press, 2006
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