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1 - The Purpose of Primate Cognitive Studies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2022

Bennett L. Schwartz
Affiliation:
Florida International University
Michael J. Beran
Affiliation:
Georgia State University
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Summary

What is the purpose of studies of primate cognition, and how should one best study primate cognition? This book answers those questions, and it highlights some of the most recent and compelling evidence regarding the cognitive abilities of primate species. This book describes the goals of studying primate cognition (historically, and in the present), and how such studies teach us about the minds of our closest living relatives, as well as about our own minds. Primate cognitive studies illustrate important aspects of the origins of human cognition, and they provide a measure of connectedness between humans and other primates. Topics range across nearly all those typically seen in a book of human cognition: perception, representation, categorization, memory, decision-making, communication and language, numerical cognition, metacognition, and theory of mind, among others. This book also describes the varied setting in which primates can be studied, and the range of experimental and observational approaches that are typically used. Some authors address questions about the ethics of working with nonhuman primates, as well as the concerns that have emerged about replication and reproducibility of results that are reported in primate cognitive research.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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