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Animal Intelligence: Experimental Studies

Nature volume 88, pages 306307 (04 January 1912) | Download Citation



ONE of the most remarkable examples of sudden and rapid development of a new scientific method and a new and extensive body of scientific fact is to be seen in the growth of the study of animal psychology during the last ten or a dozen years. As in the case of the general science of psychology, the change came with the introduction of experiment as the fundamental method of investigation, but the transition was accentuated by a craving for objectivity of results, which focussed the attention upon the objective performance or behaviour of the animal under examination, not only to the detriment, but even, in the case of many observers, to the complete neglect of speculation as to its psychical life. If the new psychology claimed to be a psychology without a soul, the new animal psychology threatened, and still threatens, to become an animal psychology without consciousness. Many investigators have indeed openly declared for this ideal-not denying the presence of consciousness, but regarding it as of no importance or value in an explanatory scientific system. Nevertheless signs are not wanting in the most recent work of a healthy reaction from this extreme view, based as much upon observed fact as upon a priori speculation.

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