Cover image for Origins of intelligence : the evolution of cognitive development in monkeys, apes, and humans
Origins of intelligence : the evolution of cognitive development in monkeys, apes, and humans
Parker, Sue Taylor.
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Publication Information:
Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xv, 404 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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BF311 .P31363 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Since Darwin's time, comparative psychologists have searched for a good way to compare cognition in humans and nonhuman primates. In Origins of Intelligence, Sue Parker and Michael McKinney offer such a framework and make a strong case for using human development theory (both Piagetian and neo-Piagetian) to study the evolution of intelligence across primate species. Their approach is comprehensive, covering a broad range of social, symbolic, physical, and logical domains, which fall under the all-encompassing and much-debated term intelligence. A widely held theory among developmental psychologists and social and biological anthropologists is that cognitive evolution in humans has occurred through juvenilization -- the gradual accentuation and lengthening of childhood in the evolutionary process. In this work, however, Parker and McKinney argue instead that new stages were added at the end of cognitive development in our hominid ancestors, coining the term adultification by terminal extension to explain this process. Drawing evidence from scores of studies on monkeys, great apes, and human children, this book provides unique insights into ontogenetic constraints that have interacted with selective forces to shape the evolution of cognitive development in our lineage.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Comparative psychologist Parker (anthropology, Sonoma State Univ., California) and evolutionary theorist McKinney (geological sciences, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville) have pooled their talents and produced an excellent book on the evolution of behavioral complexity. This is not just for the intelligent general reader; it is a serious and successful scholarly expose of human and human-like intelligence among primates. In many ways this is also a fine volume on evolutionary theory because it emphasizes the role of successive changes in ontogenies. The authors make a strong case for the importance of what they call "sequential terminal extensions" of stages in development during the evolutionary process. In exploring this avenue they seriously weaken the simple "ape-juvenilization" explanations previously proffered for human origins. They skillfully build their thesis through 13 chapters, centering on the relentless role of natural selection in producing patterns in nature. In arguing for real Darwinian progress in adaptation, they confront head-on the often antiselectionist stance of Stephen Gould and others who attempt explanations largely through chance and contingency or macroevolutionary semantics. This volume, probably the best comprehensive explanation of higher primate intelligence, is an example of how productive the breakdown of conventional disciplinary boundaries can be. Highly recommended for students and professors, a rare achievement for a book. General readers; undergraduates through faculty. F. S. Szalay; CUNY Hunter College

Table of Contents

Part I Cognitive Development In Human And Nonhuman Primates
Comparative Developmental Studies of Primate Cognition
Development of Physical Cognition in Children, Apes, and Monkeys
Development of Logical-Mathematical Cognition in Children, Apes, and Monkeys
Development of Social Cognition in Children, Apes, and Monkeys
Development of Language in Young Children and Apes
Comparing Primate Cognition across Domains: Integration or Isolation?
Cognitive Development in the Context of Life History
Part II The Evolution Of Cognitive Development
Development and Evolution: A Primer
The Evolution of Human Mental Development
Cognitive Adaptations of Apes and Humans
Comparing Adaptive Scenarios for Primate Cognition
The Evolution and Development of the Brain
Cognitive Complexity and Progress in Evolution