Approaches to the Study of Cognition
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Approaches to the Study of Cognition book
If any topic lies at the heart of comparative psy chology, it is mind and, more specifically, cog nition, since cognitive processes are said to underlie intelligence and questions about intel ligence have driven comparative analyses (e.g., Pearce, 1987). However, for most psychologists, interested as they are primarily in understand ing humans, comparative analyses have seemed reasonable-let alone necessary-only to the extent that human cognition and nonhuman cognition have appeared similar. It was on the conviction, stemming from evolutionary theory, that intelligence and thinking are not limited to humans but continuous among species that the field first flowered after Darwin’s seminal work. Then, as behaviorism flourished, interest turned from the complexities of mind and cognition to apparently simpler phenomena, especially learning, and interest in comparative analyses diminished. Though simpler processes also begged for comparative analysis, behaviorism’s rejection of explanations that were considered “mental” discouraged analyses aimed at illumi nating intelligence across species.