The Intelligence of Animals: Studies in Comparative Psychology

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FOR many years Miss Frances Pitt's books have adorned the front rank of observational studies in animal behaviour. One was always sure of finding fresh material, as reliable as it was interesting. Gradually, however, the gifted observer has become more frankly reflective, as in her “Animal Mind”; and now we have a record in which the inferences are definite contributions towards a solution of some of the deeper problems of biology. The outcome is a psycho-biological picture, convincing us afresh that we cannot describe the ways of animals, or account for their survival, unless we do justice to their “mentality”, including in that term all the creature's mental acquirements, characteristics, and predispositions. That intelligence and parental affection may have survival value will be admitted by most open-air naturalists, but Miss Pitt shows that we must also take account of subtler qualities, such as tameness and confidingness, wariness and shyness, a desire to be left alone, and a liking for neighbours. Inferences cannot, of course, claim the cogency of observations, but Miss Pitt states a strong case for the validity of psycho-biology, stressing the mind-body as much as the body-mind. Even temperament may have survival value in wild Nature.

The Intelligence of Animals: Studies in Comparative Psychology.

By Frances Pitt. Pp. 320 + 46 plates. (London: George Alien and Unwin, Ltd., 1931.) 15s. net.

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T., J. The Intelligence of Animals: Studies in Comparative Psychology . Nature 129, 6–7 (1932) doi:10.1038/129006a0

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