Ed Wasserman, comparative psychologist
Scientists ground their understanding of the natural world in the principles of evolution. But when it comes to their own behavior, Ed Wasserman thinks many scientists let creationist thinking take hold. For nearly 40 years, the University of Iowa psychologist has been searching for the roots of cognition, hoping to debunk the myth that our behavior has an intelligent designer: a rational mind.
Wasserman has studied the minds of pigeons, chickens, rats, baboons, and humans of all ages, searching for insights into mental evolution. In the process, he's uncovered the abilities of pigeons to read human facial expressions, perform abstract thinking and analogical reasoning, and stretch the limits of their short-term memory. He's found cognitive tasks mastered by pigeons and baboons but failed by four-year-old humans.