Folk Physics for Apes : Chimpanzees, Tool-Use, and Causal Understanding

Folk Physics for Apes : Chimpanzees, Tool-Use, and Causal Understanding

by Daniel J. Povinelli
     
 

From an early age, humans know a surprising amount about basic physical principles, such as gravity, force, mass, and shape. We can see this in the way that young children play, and manipulate objects around them. The same behavior has long been observed in primates - chimpanzees have been shown to possess a remarkable ability to make and use simple tools. But what

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Overview

From an early age, humans know a surprising amount about basic physical principles, such as gravity, force, mass, and shape. We can see this in the way that young children play, and manipulate objects around them. The same behavior has long been observed in primates - chimpanzees have been shown to possess a remarkable ability to make and use simple tools. But what does this tell us about their inner mental state - do they therefore share the same understanding to that of a young child? Do they understand the simple, underlying physical principles involved? Though some people would say that they do, this book reports groundbreaking research that questions whether this really is the case.

Folk Physics for Apes challenges the assumptions so often made about apes. It offers us a rare glimpse into the workings of another mind, examining how apes perceive and understand the physical world - an understanding that appears to be both similar to, and yet profoundly different from our own. The book will have broad appeal to evolutionary psychologists, developmental psychologists, and those interested in the sub-disciplines of cognitive science (philosophy, anthropology). The book additionally offers for developmental psychologists some valuable new non-verbal techniques for assessing causal understanding in young children.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198572206
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/01/2000
Pages:
408
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Professor Daniel Povinelli is world famous for his controversial, but revolutionary experiments in the field of animal behavior. This book will attract considerable publicity, not least due to the controversial stance he takes in the long running debate over animal intelligence.

Table of Contents

An initial word about 'folk physics'

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