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The concept of "Umwelt" was coined by Jakob von Uexküll during the nineteenth century. The term comprises the "Merkwelt" (how living beings perceive the world through their senses) and the "Wirkwelt" (how living beings interact with the world through their actions). Since all animal cognition tests consist of animals performing actions after having perceived some stimuli, taking each species' umwelt into account when designing the tests and control conditions is deemed mandatory. The authors introduce these concepts and highlight their relevance by providing some experimental examples.
Would you ask a honeybee to point at a screen and recognise a facial expression? Or ask an elephant to climb a tree? While humans and non-human species may inhabit the same world, it's likely that our perceptual worlds differ significantly. Emphasising Uexküll's concept of 'umwelt', this volume offers practical advice on how animal cognition can be successfully tested while avoiding anthropomorphic conclusions. The chapters describe the capabilities of a range of animals - from ants, to lizards to chimpanzees - revealing how to successfully investigate animal cognition across a variety of taxa. The book features contributions from leading cognition researchers, each offering a series of examples and practical tips drawn from their own experience. Together, the authors synthesise information on current field and laboratory methods, providing researchers and graduate students with methodological advice on how to formulate research questions, design experiments and adapt studies to different taxa.
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