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Full-Text Articles in Organisms

Orangutan Pantomime: Elaborating The Message, Anne Russon, Kristin Andrews May 2015

Orangutan Pantomime: Elaborating The Message, Anne Russon, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, PhD

We present an exploratory study of forest-living orangutan pantomiming, i.e. gesturing in which they act out their meaning, focusing on its occurrence, communicative functions, and complexities. Studies show that captive great apes may elaborate messages if communication fails, and isolated reports suggest that great apes occasionally pantomime. We predicted forest-living orangutans would pantomime spontaneously to communicate, especially to elaborate after communication failures. Mining existing databases on free-ranging rehabilitant orangutans’ behaviour identified 18 salient pantomimes. These pantomimes most often functioned as elaborations of failed requests, but also as deceptions and declaratives. Complexities identified include multimodality, re-enactments of past events and several …


Telling Stories Without Words, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

Telling Stories Without Words, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, PhD

I will argue here that we can take a functional approach to FP that identifies it with the practice of explaining behaviour -- that is, we can understand folk psychology as having the purpose of explaining behaviour and promoting social cohesion by making others’ behaviour comprehensible, without thinking that this ability must be limited to those with linguistic abilities. One reason for thinking that language must be implicated in FP explanations arises from the history of theorizing about the nature of scientific explanation. I will show that there are other models of explanation that are free from the metaphysical linguistic …


Pantomime In Great Apes: Evidence And Implications, Ann E. Russon, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

Pantomime In Great Apes: Evidence And Implications, Ann E. Russon, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, PhD

We recently demonstrated, by mining observational data, that forest-living orangutans can communicate using gestures that qualify as Pantomime. Pantomimes, like other iconic gestures, physically resemble their referents. More elaborately, pantomimes involve enacting their referents. Holding thumb and finger together at the lips and blowing between them to mean balloon is one example. Here we sketch evidence of pantomime in other great apes, methodological concerns, and sophisticated cognitive capabilities that great ape pantomimes suggest.


Politics Or Metaphysics? On Attributing Psychological Properties To Animals, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

Politics Or Metaphysics? On Attributing Psychological Properties To Animals, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, PhD

Following recent arguments that there is no logical problem with attributing mental or agential states to animals, I address the epistemological problem of how to go about making accurate attributions. I suggest that there is a two-part general method for determining whether a psychological property can be accurately attributed to a member of another species: folk expert opinion and functionality. This method is based on well-known assessments used to attribute mental states to humans who are unable to self-ascribe due to an early stage of development or impairment, and can be used to describe social and emotional development as well …


Are Apes’ Responses To Pointing Gestures Intentional?, Olivia Sultanescu, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

Are Apes’ Responses To Pointing Gestures Intentional?, Olivia Sultanescu, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, PhD

This paper examines the meaningfulness of pointing in great apes. We appeal to Hannah Ginsborg’s conception of primitive normativity, which provides an adequate criterion for establishing whether a response is meaningful, and we attempt to make room for a conception according to which there is no fundamental difference between the responses of human infants and those of other great apes to pointing gestures. This conception is an alternative to Tomasello’s view that pointing gestures and reactions to them reveal a fundamental difference between humans and other apes.


It's In Your Nature: A Pluralistic Folk Psychology, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

It's In Your Nature: A Pluralistic Folk Psychology, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, PhD

I suggest a pluralistic account of folk psychology according to which not all predictions or explanations rely on the attribution of mental states, and not all intentional actions are explained by mental states. This view of folk psychology is supported by research in developmental and social psychology. It is well known that people use personality traits to predict behavior. I argue that trait attribution is not shorthand for mental state attributions, since traits are not identical to beliefs or desires, and an understanding of belief or desire is not necessary for using trait attributions. In addition, we sometimes predict and …


Knowing Mental States: The Asymmetry Of Psychological Prediction And Explanation, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

Knowing Mental States: The Asymmetry Of Psychological Prediction And Explanation, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, PhD

Some interpretations of the two major theories of how minds understand minds, the theory theory and the simulation theory, conform to this require-ment of the Machiavellian intelligence thesis. Though both the theory theory and the simulation theory originated as accounts of how we understand other minds, it has been suggested that both simulation theory (e.g. Bolton 1995; Gordon 1995) and the theory theory (e.g. Frith and Happe 1999; Bolton 1995; Gopnick and Meltzoff 1994; Carruthers 1996) can also provide an account of how we understand our own minds. The classical account of how we know the contents of our own …


Beyond Anthropomorphism: Attributing Psychological Properties To Animals, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

Beyond Anthropomorphism: Attributing Psychological Properties To Animals, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, PhD

In the context of animal cognitive research, “anthropomorphism” is defined as the attribution of uniquely human mental characteristics to non-human animals. Those who worry about anthropomorphism in research are confronted with the question of which properties are uniquely human. As animals, humans and non-human animals1 share a number of biological, morphological, relational, and spatial properties. In addition, it is widely accepted and humans and animals share some psychological properties such as the ability to fear or desire. These claims about the properties animals share with humans are often the products of empirical work.


Great Ape Mindreading: What’S At Stake?, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

Great Ape Mindreading: What’S At Stake?, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, PhD

Humans and other great apes are similar in so many ways. We share an extended immaturity and intense infant-caregiver relationships, group living situations, cultural transmission of technology, and many emotions and cognitive capacities. Yet the communities of nonhuman apes are also very different from human communities. Humans build lasting tools, and store them to use later. We build permanent sleeping and living structures. We cook our food. We have courts of law and prisons and ethics books. There are vast technological differences between humans and nonhuman great apes. What is it that accounts for such a difference? On one account, …


Confronting Language, Representation, And Belief: A Limited Defense Of Mental Continuity, Kristin Andrews, Ljiljana Radenovic Apr 2015

Confronting Language, Representation, And Belief: A Limited Defense Of Mental Continuity, Kristin Andrews, Ljiljana Radenovic

Kristin Andrews, PhD

According to the mental continuity claim (MCC), human mental faculties are physical and beneficial to human survival, so they must have evolved gradually from ancestral forms and we should expect to see their precursors across species. Materialism of mind coupled with Darwin’s evolutionary theory leads directly to such claims and even today arguments for animal mental properties are often presented with the MCC as a premise. However, the MCC has been often challenged among contemporary scholars. It is usually argued that only humans use language and that language as such has no precursors in the animal kingdom. Moreover, language is …


Animal Cognition, Kristin Andrews, Ljiljana Radenovic Apr 2015

Animal Cognition, Kristin Andrews, Ljiljana Radenovic

Kristin Andrews, PhD

Debates in applied ethics about the proper treatment of animals often refer to empirical data about animal cognition, emotion, and behavior. In addition, there is increasing interest in the question of whether any nonhuman animal could be something like a moral agent.


Chimpanzee Theory Of Mind: Looking In All The Wrong Places?, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

Chimpanzee Theory Of Mind: Looking In All The Wrong Places?, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, PhD

I respond to an argument presented by Daniel Povinelli and Jennifer Vonk that the current generation of experiments on chimpanzee theory of mind cannot decide whether chimpanzees have the ability to reason about mental states. I argue that Povinelli and Vonk’s proposed experiment is subject to their own criticisms and that there should be a more radical shift away from experiments that ask subjects to predict behavior. Further, I argue that Povinelli and Vonk’s theoretical commitments should lead them to accept this new approach, and that experiments which offer subjects the opportunity to look for explanations for anomalous behavior should …


A Role For Folk Psychology In Animal Cognition Research, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

A Role For Folk Psychology In Animal Cognition Research, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, PhD

If we consider that the field of animal cognition research began with Darwin’s stories about clever animals, we can see that over the 150 years of work done in this field, there has been a slow swing back and forth between two extreme positions. One extreme is the view that other animals are very much like us, that we can use introspection in order to understand why other animals act as they do, and that no huge interpretive leap is required to understand animal minds. On the other extreme we have the view that other animals are utterly different from …


Empathy In Other Apes, Kristin Andrews, Lori Gruen Apr 2015

Empathy In Other Apes, Kristin Andrews, Lori Gruen

Kristin Andrews, PhD

A number of scholars have offered behavioral and physiological arguments in favor of the existence of empathy in other species (see Bekoff & Pierce 2009, Flack & de Waal 2000, Plutchik 1987). While the evidence is compelling, claims about empathy in nonhuman apes face two different challenges. The first challenge comes from a set of empirical findings that suggest great apes are not able to think about other’s beliefs. The argument here is based on a view that empathy is associated with folk psychological understanding of others’ mental states, or mindreading, and the existence of mindreading among the other apes …