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Flashcards in Animal intelligence Deck (21):

Define the traffic maintenance hypothesis.

- Traffic maintenance hypothesis. larger animals require larger brains to coordinate their larger bodies. For example. Need a larger brain to coordinate more muscles. E.g. whales may have brains x 5 larger than humans, but there body size is 500 x heavier than humans.


Why is it crucial to understandhow our minds evolved? - two reasons

1. Comparing humans and animals minds can identify which aspects of our intelligence are unique to our species (autapomorphies – distinct traits)
- Thus we can understand our place in the world e..g why we are the only species that has science, technology and civilisation.

Reason 2: Comparing human and distantly related animal minds can identiy the selective pressures that might have shaped our minds (look for analogies.) e.g. if complex tools made us smart – then other animals who use tools should be smart.


Define encepthalisation quotient.

To take body size into account, we need to look at how much bigger the brain is than expected for the body size of the animal
There is a linear relationship between body weight and brain size. That is, body size is a driver of brain size.
- However, by using the encephalisation quotient we can see that the ratio of body size to brain size falls beneath or above a linear line – that is the brain is either smaller or larger than predicted by body weight.

e.g. Dolphins above the line.


Define neocortex gyrification.

One key characteristic of the human brain is the folding of the cerebral cortex. This folding increases the surface areas of the brain in relation to its volume. Increased cerebral cortex surface area correlates with an increased number of neurons and so gyrification is thought to allow for increased cognitive function

however, when we look across the animal kingdom we find that dolphins have a more folded brain - greater neocortical area. However by dividing neocortical area by brain weight we can obtain a gyrification index - find that humans have a larger gyrification index.


Define the brain drain.

• Mass-specific metabolic rate of the brain is approximately 11.2 W/Kg.
• Whereas the mass-specific metabolic rate of skeletal muscle is 0.4 W/kg.
• Brain tissue is 22 times more expencive than muscle tissue. Therefore there must be a reason the brain uses so much more energy than muscles.


define the social intelligence hypothesis.

Social intelligence hypothesis: complex social interactions drive the evolution of large brains:
• Learning and memory for complex social events.
• Ability to monitor other individuals behaviour and relationships.
• Ability to maintain close relationships with other individuals.


define the technical intelligence hypothesis.

• States that selection for extractive foraging(getting food from hard to reach places) efficiency helped drive brain expansion and the associated increase in cognitive abilities.


Define the environmental complexity hypothesis

Solving novel survival problems has driven brain expansion. E.g. new predators, new food sources, change breeding behaviour


Define the social intelligence-ecological complexity hypothesis.

Our working lives are our social lives.

Cooperative technical foraging - need to know how to use tools etc.

Group hunting combines both social and technical intelligence. - need to know who to go hunting with, who works hard?


Why does cooperative big game hunting need social intelligence?

Hunting in a group requires co-operation between hunters both during the hunt and afterwards when they share the kill.

Need sophisticated social cognition to know who to hunt with - who works hard, who cheats?


Why does cooperative big game hunting need technical intelligence?

Hunting large animals needs professional hunters - those who know how to catch animals, how to make traps etc.

Hunting large animals needs complex tools and specialist tool makers - need division of labour - knapping specialists to make good enough tools that hunting large game becomes safe.


Define anthropomorphism.

The universal human tendency to attribute human qualities to things that are non-human.


Define Mock Anthropomorphism

Certain phenomena behave as if they have human qualities, but we don't actually think they do. E.g. part of our brain knows that three dots on the screen in the shape of a face is not actually a face. The selfish gene - genes act AS IF they were selfish, but we don't actually think they do.


Define Genuine anthropomorphism.

Genuine anthropomorphism - we actually attribute human qualities to different phenomena, based solely on how there behaviour appears.
E.g. talking to animals – we know that animals have minds, so when we see animal behaviour that looks like human behaviour we start put words into the mouths of the animal to make their behaviour make sense. Allows us to interpret animal behaviour. When we see behaviour that looks like it may be human we start to interpret animal behaviour in a way that makes sense to us. – because we see these behaviours it is easy to generate an internal monologue for them.


Define the many-to-one mapping problem.

Many different cognitive mechanisms may be able to explain the behaviour we observe. - Cognition is not directly observable, we have to make inferences about what is going through a mind from behaviour.


Define Habituation.

strength of reaction decreases with repeated exposure to a non-meaningful stimulus. – for example you hear a loud noise of a train but does not result in anything bad so the next time that occurs you ignore it more, this follows on


Define social learning.

Learning that is influenced by observation of, or interaction with, another animal (typically of the same species)
- Information is transferred from experience individual to a naïve one.
- If social learning is actively facilitated by an experienced individual it is categorised as teaching.


Define emotional contagion.

- A process in which a person or group influences the emotions or behaviour of another person or group through the conscious or unconscious induction of emotion


Define Occams razor.

Principle of parsimony. Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.

The simplest explanation that accounts for all the data is the best.


Define Morgans canon.

In no case may we interpret an (animal) action as the outcome of the exercise of a higher psychological faculty, if it can be interpreted as the outcome of the exercise of one which stands lower in the psychological scale.


Define tool crafting.

carrying out a number of successive steps to three dimensionally reshape a tool, where reshaping is defined as the fundamental restructuring of material.