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Comparative CognitionExperimental Explorations of Animal Intelligence$
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Wasserman and Thomas R Zentall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377804

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377804.001.0001

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The Cognitive Chicken

The Cognitive Chicken

Visual and Spatial Cognition in a Nonmammalian Brain

(p.53) 3 The Cognitive Chicken
Comparative Cognition

Giorgio Vallortigara

Oxford University Press

The cognitive abilities of species outside of mammalian classes may prove useful and insightful to the study of animal intelligence. In Europe, particularly within the tradition of Gestalt psychology or in the work of zoologists somewhat influenced by the Gestalt tradition, studies of the intelligence of birds and fish (and even nonvertebrate species such as insects) have been quite common. After World War II, the Gestalt research tradition largely disappeared and the remaining followers of Gestalt psychology (concentrated in a few universities in Germany, the northeast of Italy, and Japan) concerned themselves mainly with studies of human visual perception. In this chapter, the author describes some of the work that he has carried out with his collaborators in the past 15 years on cognition in nonmammalian species (mainly the domestic chicken) and addresses issues that were largely inspired by the European Gestalt tradition, rather than by the psychology of animal learning, which has provided the typical background of most contemporary comparative psychology.

Keywords:   Gestalt psychology, animal intelligence, visual perception, chicken, animal learning, comparative psychology, cognition, cognitive abilities

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