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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The International Journal of Comparative Psychology is sponsored by the International Society for Comparative Psychology. It is a peer-reviewed open-access digital journal that publishes studies on the evolution and development of behavior in all animal species. It accepts research articles and reviews, letters and audiovisual submissions.

Volume 7, Issue 4, 1994

Research Article

Animal Mind - Human Mind: The Continuity of Mental Experience With or Without Language


the last decades, putative nonhuman linguistic skills have been proposed as an essential trait to better understand animal mind and communication, and the evolution of human language. This paper offers a critique of Animal Language Research (ALR) to date and posits that the methodological and interpretative problems of ALR derive from some key theoretical paradoxes implicit in the premises of the research Based on evolutionary and continuity arguments, ALR has assumed that nonhuman animals may posses some "rudiments" of human language. In contrast, it is argued that (a) the evolutionary origins of human language do not necessarily require the presence of linguistic capacities in nonhumans;. (b) animal communicative skills could be best understood through the study of their behavioral natural repertoire; and (c) the performance of animals in language studies can be an indicator of their cognitive abilities but not of their linguistic competence.  

Sequential Analysis of Rat Behavior in th Open Field

Fifty four rats were tested in an open field. Both Frequency and Sequence of behavioral acts were analyzed. Distribution of the behavioral index frequencies appeared to be far from normal. Cluster analysis based on sequential data revealed that rats employ two main behavioral patterns in the open field. The results are discussed in terms of individual differences. The procedure used here represents an improved approach to analyzing open-field behavior.

Konrad Lorenz and the National Socialists: On the Politics of Ethology

The observation that science is influenced by politics has often been noted, but the details as to how, by whom, and to what ends, differ so much from case to case that the theme remains interesting. During the cold war it was, usually, physics and chemistry, occasionally mathematics, whose directions were thought to be influenced by political pressures (Snow, 1961). Biology came into prominence with the Vietnam War, and interest in an array of biological weapons, from defoliants to nerve gaseslikewise influenced a great deal of research. If one's memory goes back to earlier times, one also recalls the relations that developed between psychology and the politics of immigration and education, which had a  lasting impact on developments in the study of intelligence (Gould, 1981). Nor have the politics of religion been irrelevant (Durant, 1985).