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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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VI. Earth Life Emergence: Development of Body, Brain, Selves and Societies

3. Animal Intelligence and Sociality

Panksepp, Jaak. The Basic Emotional Circuits of Mammalian Brains: Do Animals Have Affective Lives?.. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 35/9, 2011. Estonian born Panksepp is Chair of Animal Well-Being, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University. This is a cover paper for a special issue on his lifetime of pioneer research in the area, such as laughter in rodents, and epitomizes the total turnabout on the basis of advanced scientific brain research that all manner of creatures are, as we know, deeply sentient, clever, emotional companions, very much persons in their own evolutionary station. Search this journal for more pithy papers by JP.

The primal affects are intrinsic brain value systems that unconditionally and automatically inform animals how they are faring in survival. They serve an essential function in emotional learning. The positive affects indexes comfort zones that support survival, while negative affects inform animals of circumstances that may impair survival. Affective feelings come in several varieties, including sensory, homeostatic, and emotional (which I focus on here). Primary-process emotional feelings arise from ancient caudal and medial subcortical regions, and were among the first subjective experiences to exist on the face of the earth. Without them, higher forms of conscious �awareness� may not have emerged in primate brain evolution. Because of homologous �instinctual� neural infrastructures, we can utilize animal brain research to reveal the nature of primary-process human affects. Since all vertebrates appear to have some capacity for primal affective feelings, the implications for animal-welfare and how we ethically treat other animals are vast. (Abstract, 1)

If the ancient brain mechanism for affective feelings are evolutionarily related in all mammals, we can finally begin to understand the deep neural nature of human feelings by studying the homologous neuroanatomies and neurochemistries of these systems in animal models. This could greatly advance our understanding of the human brain and mind. But this transition from Cartesian skepticism, and a denial of mind in other animals, to neuro-mental realism is bound to be a slow process, at least among neuroscientists who have built their careers and belief systems on the behaviorist never-mind tradition. (10)

Pennisi, Elizabeth. Social Animals Prove Their Smarts. Science. 312/1734, 2006. Although animal intelligence has long been denigrated, a revolution is underway to quantify and appreciate its pervasive fact throughout the metazoan kingdom. This is especially so with regard to primates whose group lifestyles demand and promote cerebral competence and human-like behavior.

Pennisi, Elizabeth. The Power of Personality. Science. 352/644, 2016. A report on the latest findings that all manner of creatures from primates, cats and dogs, especially birds and onto insects, as we well know, are endowed with the whole gamut of human-like behaviors. These attributes then serve ones own survival and that of their relative species.

Pepperberg, Irene. The Alex Studies. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. A book length report on sophisticated, double blind research over many years with a grey parrot able to learn and verbalize so that his extensive cognitive abilities could be evaluated and quantified.

Perruchet, Pierre and Annie Vinter. Linking Learning and Consciousness: The Self-Organizing Consciousness Model. Cleeremans, Axel, ed. The Unity of Consciousness. Cleeremans, Axel, ed. The Unity of Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. On the hypothesis that the evolution of informed sentience is most of all a dynamic learning experience.

Pfeffer, Sarah and Harald Wolf. Anthropod Spatial Cognition. Animal Cognition. 23/11, 2020. Ulm University neurobiologists introduce a special issue about the extraordinary acute capacities of these invertebrates whose appropriate sophistication seems to be far beyond their rudimentary neural facility.

Arthropod insects and crustaceans show a diverse repertoire of cognitive feats. Despite their smaller brains, the cognitive abilities of arthropods are comparable to, or may even exceed, those of some vertebrates. Miniature brains often provide parsimonious but smart solutions for complex behaviours or ecologically relevant problems. Arthropod spatial cognition studies long concentrated on the honeybee, However, myriad species worldwide, have a broad diversity of lifestyles, ecology, and cognitive abilities. This special issue compiles four review articles and ten original research reports from a spectrum of arthropod species. They range from the well-studied hymenopterans, and ants in particular, to chelicerates and crustaceans. (Abstract excerpt)

Pinker, Steven. How the Mind Works. New York: Norton, 1997. By means of coordinating an array of innate, dedicated, information processing modules, which are vestiges from hunter-gatherer days.

The mind is a system of organs of computation, designed by natural selection to solve the kinds of problems our ancestors faced in their foraging way of life.The mind is organized into modules or mental organs, each with a specialized design that makes it expert in one area of interaction with the world. (21)

Plotnik, Jousha and Nicola Clayton. Convergent Cognitive Evolution across Animal Taxa: Comparisons of Chimpanzees, Corvids, and Elephants. Eric Margolis and Stephen Laurence, eds. The Conceptual Mind. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2015. This large edition considers in dedicated sections the nature of knowledge representations across animal, cerebral, evolutionary, perceptive, language, cultural, formative, contextual, and individual domains. Cambridge University psychologists can then confirm, after some decades of diverse field and laboratory research, that human-like personal and communal intelligence and behavior does extend throughout the creaturely kingdoms and deeply into lifes evolution. A chapter by Anna Wierzbicka on common languages is reviewed separately.

Regolin, Lucia and Giorgia Vallortigara. Rethinking Cognition: From Animal to Minimal. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Volume 564, 2021. We are pleased to see this innovative entry for it has previously occurred to us that a whole scale reconception of the evolutionary presence of aware, intelligent behavior was overdue. Here University of Padua psychologists (search GV) introduce a special issue with this broad intent, scope and content. This will be an umbrella review to cover several papers with their Abstracts such as Cephalopods: Ambassadors for Rethinking Cognition by Alexandria Schnell and Nicola Clayton, Learning in Single Cell Organisms by Audrey Dussutour, Life, Death and Self by Michael Levin, All Living Cells are Cognitive by James Shapiro, and The Brain as a Dynamically Active Organ by Bjorn Brembs.

It is said that the historic import of these wide and deep studies from bacterial invertebrates onto every creaturely class can replace the olden temporal scale of mental qualities from first rudiments to human faculties. Into the 21st century and these 2020s, a profusion of research studies well attests to the actual presence of an independent, common, ecognitive behavioral repertoire which seems fully accessible to every diverse organic class and form, regardless of their neural anatomy. Even botanical plant flora are now being found to possess and exhibit their own intelligence, see S. Simard, et al in this Natural AI section. We also note two special issues this year in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (1820, 1821) all about deep intelligence.

In 1980s Humberto Maturana suggested that: Living systems are cognitive systems, and living as a process is a process of cognition, extending this statement to all organisms with or without a nervous system. This was of course anticipated by the famous statement by Konrad Lorenz according to whom Life itself is a process of acquiring knowledge. (LR & GV)

Learning is a basic way to acquire information about the environment so to adapt to changing conditions. Learning has long been acknowledged in animals from vertebrates to invertebrates but remains a subject of debate in a plants and single cell organisms. Here I discuss the concept of learning and argue that this ability to acquire and store information is pervasive and found in single cell organisms. I review experiments showing that single cell organisms such as slime molds and ciliates display habituation (become familiar with where they are). I suggest that single cell organisms might also undergo engage in associative learning. (Dussutour excerpt)

All living cells sense and respond to changes in external or internal conditions. Without that cognitive capacity, they could not obtain nutrition essential for growth, survive inevitable ecological changes, or correct accidents in the complex processes of reproduction. Wherever examined, even the smallest living cells (prokaryotes) display sophisticated regulatory networks establishing appropriate adaptations to stress conditions that maximize the probability of survival. Supposedly simple prokaryotic organisms also display remarkable capabilities for intercellular signalling and multicellular coordination. (Shapiro Abstract)

Traditional approaches in comparative cognition have a history of focusing on a narrow range of vertebrate species. However, in recent years the range of model species has much expanded. In this review, we contend that cephalopods are good exemplars for rethinking basal cognition. Cephalopods have large complex brains, sophisticated behavioral traits, and possess complex cognitive abilities once thought unique to brainy vertebrates. These large-brained molluscs can engender an inclusive understanding to cognitive evolution all the way to earlier, simpler occasions. (Schnell excerpt)

Reiss, Diana and Lori Marino. Mirror Self-Recognition in the Bottlenose Dolphin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 98/5937, 2001. Intelligent cetaceans are found to have the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror, an achievement which is seen as an example of how evolution converges on similar cognitive capacities in a much different kingdom from human beings.

Rendell, Luke and Hal Whitehead. Culture in Whales and Dolphins. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 24/2, 2001. A research report about the realization that language and cultural behavior is not the sole province of humans but occurs throughout the animal kingdom, in this case with cetaceans.

Reznikova, Zhanna. Animal Intelligence: From Individual to Social Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Zhanna Reznikova is a behavioural ecologist and cognitive ethologist, Head of the Department of Comparative Psychology, Novosibirsk State University, Siberia, and one of the most experienced field, laboratory, and theoretical researcher in a non-Western setting. As a result, the large volume offers extensive practice and insights into how to study and appreciate species-specific, information-based, creaturely learning and cognition across the Metazoan kingdom from insects to primates.

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