The Evolution of Comparative Psychology
In this volume, excerpted from Charles Darwin: A Celebration of His Life and Legacy (NewSouth Books, 2013), comparative psychologists Jeffrey Katz and his co-authors acknowledge Charles Darwin as the most important figure in the creation of psychology. Every day comparative psychologists rely on the Darwinian concept of common descent. The fact that the human brain/mind arose from ancestral nonhuman brains/minds suggests that we can gain insights about human behavior and cognitive abilities by studying the behavior and abilities of animals such as rats, pigeons, monkeys, and chimps. The question is whether the behavioral and cognitive differences between humans and modern-day nonhumans are of degree, as Darwin suggested, or of kind. Their own work with pigeons and monkeys leads Katz and his co-authors to side with Darwin.
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