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Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? | Frans de Waal
From world-renowned biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal, a groundbreaking work on animal intelligence destined to become a classic. What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future—all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long. People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat? De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal—and human—intelligence.
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RamsFan1963
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Pickpick

The answer is no, because we keep attributing human characteristics to animals, and when they don't respond the same as humans, we assume they aren't as intelligent as us. This book can be a bit dry and text book like, but it is enlightening. 3 💥💥💥 1/2 out of 5

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Wannabe_Quijote
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Bailedbailed

Just couldn‘t get into this one....and life‘s too short!

#dnf #bail #mustnotbesmartenough #psychology #animals

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Wannabe_Quijote
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Wannabe_Quijote
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Wannabe_Quijote
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Wannabe_Quijote
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jcalyn5 This was a great one! It‘s enough to make me wish I‘d chosen to work with animals. 4mo
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ulrichyumiodd
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Read a few chapters only (for school), but I am convinced the whole book deserves a “pick”. After reading Singer, which I deeply hated, De Waal was a wonderful surprise. His arguments are compelling, solidified by good examples, and easy to understand. A must-read for animal lovers, or anyone interested in the subject of animal skills and intelligence.

CorinnaBechko I really enjoyed this. He's a very interesting author and thinker. 6mo
ulrichyumiodd @CorinnaBechko I‘d love to read the whole book at some point. My prof provided only a few chapters for my course. 6mo
CorinnaBechko @ulrichyumiodd it's worth it when you have more time! 6mo
11 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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hermyknee
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Omg @Kelican17 you have utterly and completely spoiled me! Everything is so perfect! The Memes on each one of the gifts cracked me up. That Maya Angelou card is beautiful, and where oh where did you find the Bob‘s Burgers spatulas?! 😂 I adore everything and that bag is going with me everywhere!!! I was wondering why my dogs were so interested in this box - thank you so much for sending them treats! ♥️
#teachercarepackageswap #tcps

JoScho 💜💜💜 10mo
faelinwolf I love that tote bag! Yay, Leslie Knope! 😀 10mo
Kelican17 I‘m glad you like everything! Let me know how you like the tagged book, I almost bought a copy for myself!!! 10mo
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Oryx Love the Pawnee Goddesses tote! 10mo
kellyann28 That tote 😂😂 10mo
hermyknee @Kelican17 i just made the coffee you sent me... I AM IN HEAVEN 💕💕💕 THANK YOU SO MUCH (again!) 10mo
Nevermore88 I love bobs burgers. That spatula is adorable 10mo
hermyknee @Nevermore88 right?! Where did you find something so cool @Kelican17 ?! 10mo
Nevermore88 @hermyknee I think it was a package she received 10mo
Kelican17 @hermyknee @nevermore88 i found them on a website (I don‘t remember which one!) and it was a total fluke. I wasn‘t even looking for Bob‘s Burgers stuff! 🍔🍔🍔 if i find the website, i will let you know, for sure? 10mo
Nevermore88 Sweet thanks! 10mo
114 likes11 comments
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anwade88
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Also I am apparently now entering the realm of reading all the books and finishing none 🤔 📚

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Kristy_K
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Pickpick

I thought de Waal had plenty of fascinating insights and recorded studies of how intelligent animals truly are, but the writing was dry for me.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

#science #audiobook #animals #mounttbr

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2BR02B
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Man, I am not feeling the tone of this audiobook so far. I anticipated it being tongue-in-cheek, but instead it's rather depressingly fatalistic. Putting it back on the digital shelf for now and picking up the tagged book instead. #audiobook

Seekingtardis I‘ve heard that a lot about this book. That it isn‘t uplifting at all and can be more harmful than helpful. Which is just a shame coming from a Dr who should know better! 1y
2BR02B @Seekingtardis I think the authors were going for an Alcoholics Anonymous-style philosophy of acceptance, but it just came off as discouraging any efforts towards self-improvement. Which is a bummer. 1y
60 likes2 comments
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jcalyn5
Pickpick

This was both an entertaining and an educational read. It‘s a wonderful reminder for researchers that assumptions and methodology really matter in conducting experiments, and a notice for everyone else that we often underestimate other species.

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jcalyn5
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"Or take the recent finding that male but not female experimenters induce so much stress in mice that it affects their responses. Placing a T-shirt worn by a man in the room has the same effect, suggesting that olfaction is key. This means, of course, that mouse studies conducted by men may have different outcomes than those conducted by women." One more reason to have more #womeninSTEM. #research #methodology #psychology

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jcalyn5
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Escaping from the world for a little bit.

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Jen2
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Pickpick

Very interesting

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TorieStorieS
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Mehso-so

#Audiobook #AudioColoring Although really most of this book was an #AudioDriving adventure! Still, the anecdotes and research examples were great- but the performance itself with its sibilants started to really get on my nerves! I wish I had a printed copy instead!

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jcalyn5
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"I am not for one moment disparaging the value of the rat as a subject for psychological investigation; there is very little wrong with the rat that cannot be overcome by the education of the experimenters." --Harry Harlow on the Skinner box and experiments relying on food deprivation/rewards. #psychology #behaviorism

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jcalyn5

"...some Asian elephants recognize themselves in the mirror. Whether the same can be said of African elephants is hard to tell, because up to now our experiments have resulted in a lot of destroyed mirrors due to this species' tendency to examine new items with vigorous tusk action. This makes it hard to decide between poor performance and poor equipment." #animalcognition #animalbehavior #researchmethods

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Jokila
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Pickpick

A must-read for animal lovers ☺️????????? Frans De Waal makes a fool of anyone who thinks there's anything unique about human cognition, or an evolutionary gulf that separates "human" from the category "animal." Step up and get all the academia-sourced ammunition you need to shut down any bipedal ape who tries to tell you animals are reward-seeking machines who don't have culture, can't plan for the future, or conceive a sense of self.

minkyb Beautiful photo and nice review! 2y
Jokila @minkyb why thank you! ☺️❤️ 2y
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Lea
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I got this on an Audible sale awhile ago. The intro was really interesting but I listen to audiobooks at 2x and the "s" sound was so obnoxious I couldn't continue.

TorieStorieS You said it!!! I stuck through it, but I wish I had a printed copy instead!! 2y
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Ksvz
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Pickpick

2017 #76 nonfiction audio interesting concept and very well thought out. A good argument posed to how much limitation do we put on animal intelligence because we have to feel smarter. Would like to read and discuss with a small group. It ended with me disliking humankind a little bit more.

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LectricSheep
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I don't normally use Bookout, but I tried it for the #readathon to track my time read. It worked pretty well! But I don't think I'd want to use it all the time, since I find it kind of stressful to have a little pages per hour counter. Anyway, 7.5 hours in one day is pretty neat! Gonna keep on reading until I pass out with my book on my face. Thanks for keeping me company, friends. ❤️

Daisey I tried Bookout today as well, and I think readathons will be the only time I consider using it. I just don't care that much about time spent reading most of the time, and remembering to start and stop the app takes too much effort. 2y
ReadingSusan I did the same. It's too complicated and I stupidly bought the upgrade right away 😭😭 2y
Bindrosbookshelf I've started using it regularly though I like it for pages read and tracking how many consecutive days in a row I read. Also, I find it interesting how my pace changes regularly for the same book but for different sessions - either depending on morning or night, or where I am in the book 😊 2y
Reviewsbylola Great job! I used bookout for the last readathon. Haven't used it since! 2y
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Jenshootsweddings
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Heading to Michigan and trying to decide what #nonfiction to listen to on the drive. I love listening to non-fiction audiobooks when driving!

Which one should I start?

DaniRa Are we smart enough...because I am curious to know if it's good😜 2y
Jenshootsweddings @DaniRa seems like a decent reason to me! 2y
RanaElizabeth Just FYI, Pill City has been called out as completely fictional by some very reputable people. 2y
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Zelma I haven't read any of them but I am with you on loving non-fiction on audio. I look forward to long drives just for that reason. 2y
Jenshootsweddings @RanaElizabeth really! That's interesting! Thanks for the heads up ❤ 2y
Jenshootsweddings @Zelma I love non fiction but I'm horrible at staying focused enough to read it in print form. Audio + non fiction = perfect way to get it 2y
60 likes6 comments
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Expandingbookshelf
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I don't need some fancy book to tell me what I already know...my boy here is definitely smarter than some people I've met 😍

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Mimi28
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#booksaboutnature I really wanted to dig in to Dark Matter, but this book is due January 11th and has a waiting list. Being the animal lover I am, I have to check it out! 👍📚🤔

StaceyKondla Looking forward to hearing what you think - I've ogled this book at the book store. I think animals are so much smarter than most people give them credit for. And not just smart either - capable of complex emotion and love. 3y
Mimi28 @StaceyKondla ok, I am definitely going to check it out next now. I feel the same way about animals. The exact same way 👍😊 3y
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amberlenicole
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super excited to read this book, only 20 pages in and sucked in already. "What we observe is not nature in itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning."

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eekabook
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Pickpick

A very interesting listen, though I can't help but think it was a little long as I noticed he repeated some points.

Also, in case you were wondering.... the answer is no. No we're not.

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Lindy
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Pickpick

*Cognition studies in animals, birds and even spiders.
*Interesting and easy to understand.
*Touches on some of the same material as covered in The Genius of Birds, and Unseen City.
*Great for any reader with a general interest in science, humankind and the natural world.
*Audiobook narrator Sean Runnette is excellent.

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Lindy
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True empathy is not self-focused, but other-oriented. Instead of making humanity the measure of all things, we need to evaluate other species by what they are.

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Lindy
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I can't count the number of times I've been called naïve, romantic, soft, unscientific, anthropomorphic, anecdotal, or just a sloppy thinker for proposing that primates follow political strategies, empathize with others, or understand the social world around them.

Louise I've been wanting to read this book! I follow Frans de Wal on Facebook and always enjoy his posts. Anyone who spends time with animals realizes quickly that they know a lot more than they are given credit for and also have ways of knowing that we have yet even to begin to comprehend. 3y
Lindy @Louise Exactly! I'm sure you will enjoy this book. 3y
Louise 👍❤️🌟🤓 3y
37 likes3 comments
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Lindy
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I was listening to this in bed this morning, but switched to a podcast (PW Comics More to Come) because I got to a part I wanted to write down and wasn't yet ready to get up. And there's only 25 minutes left in the audiobook. #booknerdproblems #readinginbed

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Lindy
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Three hours doing chores this morning flew by while listening to this.

valeriegeary Sounds interesting! 3y
Lindy @valeriegeary It is indeed. I'm halfway through it now. 👍 3y
32 likes6 stack adds2 comments
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eekabook
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"One thing I have learned from this lab is that superior intelligence doesn't imply better test outcomes" - Frans de Waal

Loved this quote so much I had to stop and write it down when I heard it.

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AlexandraGriffin
Pickpick

I quite enjoyed this book. Some very interesting points about the way we perceive intelligence and why we have to rethink the way we test animals for their cognitive abilities.

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AlexandraGriffin
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Riveted_Reader_Melissa This one is on my TBR list, I can't wait to see what you think of it! 3y
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Marisa74
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Pickpick

No. No we are not. That's my answer to this title after reading this (textbook). De Waal knows his stuff! In order to understand animal intelligence scientists have to use better tests. I ended up skimming parts but it's really interesting overall. Definitely check out his TED talk. It's excellent.

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TheApesOfWrath
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Evolution isn't a ladder; it's more like a bush.

Riveted_Reader_Melissa True, and I know we are not! LOL. I think of something similar whenever they look for life on other plants based on if the planet has oxygen and water, because that's what's needed for life...but only life here. Life there might be based on something else entirely. 3y
25 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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ClaireCameron
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Am I smart enough to keep this book away from the cat (who will use it to establish complete dominance of the house)?