Saturday, December 22, 2018

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal

This is such a fascinating topic, and I loved the anecdotes and descriptions of experiments that show hints of what animal cognition means.

Though the concepts and processes the author explained were very interesting and enlightening, at times it got a bit too repetitive, philosophical, or historical for my tastes, and I wished he'd show more concrete examples of the concepts he was expounding on. That said, the concrete examples he did describe were fascinating.   

I loved the discussion of how to create an experiment that really tests what you're trying to test, and doesn't get caught in the filter of your own world view.  Proper experiment construction has to be one of the hardest and most important parts of science.  I think too often we construct tests that are designed to give us the results we want or expect—not just in science, but in statistics, politics, business, and life in general. 

I learned a lot and began to think about animal cognition in a slightly different way.

I would read more by Frans De Waal. 

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