Baboons and pigeons are capable of higher-level cognition

Monday, February 16, 2009 - 12:00am

It's safe to say that humans are smarter than animals, but a University of Iowa researcher is investigating the extent of that disparity in intelligence.

And, it may not be as great a gap as you suspect, according to UI psychologist Ed Wasserman, who presents his findings at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting February 12 in Chicago.

One cognitive capacity that is vital to human intelligence is the ability to determine whether two or more items are the same or different - a skill the famous American psychologist William James called the very "backbone" of our thinking. If you have two pennies in your left hand and a nickel and a dime in your right hand, then you can correctly report that the two coins in your left hand are the "same" and that the two coins in your right hand are "different." You can also make similar judgments with any collection of items.

Read the full article online | PDF version | CLAS News Article

Edward A. Wasserman
Stuit Professor of Experimental Psychology
Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences
E222 Seashore Hall
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone:  (319) 335-2445
Fax:  (319) 335-0191
Email: ed-wasserman@uiowa.edu