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Thread: Human vs. Non-human intelligence

  1. #1 Human vs. Non-human intelligence 
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    Is the understanding of intelligence the same for humans as it is for other animals? In other words, when zoologists say that dolphins and chimps and elephants, for examples, have intelligence, are they saying that they have an intelligence unique to their species or that their intelligence can be defined in the same way as human intelligence?


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    define human intelligence.


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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    i think the reasoning goes more or less as follows :

    (1) humans are intelligent (whatever that may mean)
    (2) some animals can do certain things that humans can do, and that we consider to be signs of intelligence
    (3) ergo these animals share some of the aspects that makes humans intelligent

    a very rough and ready approach to assess an animal's mental state, and rather flawed too, since it only attaches value to those mental states insofar as they seem to match some aspect of the human mind
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Yes, but can animals cause an economic recession?
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    no, they're not THAT intelligent
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Are the other animals intelligent enough to believe in God?
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  8. #7 Re: Human vs. Non-human intelligence 
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    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    Is the understanding of intelligence the same for humans as it is for other animals? In other words, when zoologists say that dolphins and chimps and elephants, for examples, have intelligence, are they saying that they have an intelligence unique to their species or that their intelligence can be defined in the same way as human intelligence?
    I do not know how zoologist measure or define 'intelligence' in animals. I would presume that the level of interaction between a human being and animal is used to determine if an animal is intelligent or not.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    No, usually the human is seen as a interfering object in behavioural studies. So they usually tend to measure animal intelligence by means of interaction with inanimate objects.

    The tests depend on the species in question since all animals are different.
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    i assume animals lack a very important factor of who we human beings are, which is conscience, and conscience is just the thing to make us intelligent in terms of belief or social interaction between other forms of life. an animal's instinct is as far as it goes, so i would say intelligence can only be measured in the way its instincts react to certain condtions

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  11. #10  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Who says animals don't have a conscience?
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    From what I know, intelligence is not as simple or as one-dimensional as we tend to think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finger
    From what I know, intelligence is not as simple or as one-dimensional as we tend to think.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3nr5uSJRuM
    Weeeiiird!

    But this does help to answer my question. Memory and the ability to count are both considered signs of intelligence in both chimps (and presumably other non-humans) and humans.
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    Here's a good National Geographic special that gets a bit more in-depth about the intellectual differences between humans and the other apes.
    The Human Ape
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  15. #14  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    same for humans as it is for other animals?
    Humans are animals. We are probably not significantly more intelligent than cave men were, the major difference is mostly the knowledge being transmitted to new individuals(and the changes made to the environment resulting from the application of this knowledge). An infant raised by chimps would not once adulthood know how to talk and would not be functional in our society(and might even have trouble walking upright). If all adult humans (and any traces of civilization) were transfered to another dimension and the only humans left were infants raised by chimps in remote jungle regions we'd be back to square one with less technology than cavemen.
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    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    That's not necessarily an accurate explanation. Although social interaction is a significant part of the development of inteligence in a human child, some children are always going to be more inteligent than others. So it's not fair to say all inteligence is aquired from parents/peers: some aspect of inteligence at least is genetic. Looking at how successful a human infant is with chimp foster-parents sompared to other chimps, in areas related to inteligence at least, would allow us to categorically say which species is more inteligent. I would be inclinde to say humans, because chimps raised by humans are unable to learn language or complex social interaction. Or then again, is it that they can't vocalise our languages because of their different vocal cords?
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    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    ...I would be inclinde to say humans, because chimps raised by humans are unable to learn language or complex social interaction. Or then again, is it that they can't vocalise our languages because of their different vocal cords?
    Which relates to my original question. On the one hand it is very easy to infer that animals have some type of intelligence, but determining whether intelligence can be defined universally and measuring this intelligence in a non-human is not easy. Language seems to be a sign of intelligence. Koko the gorilla, for example, could not speak a language but she was taught the basics of sign language. So, perhaps we could infer that the more complex language a human (ie. good vocabulary, good use of poetry) or other animal demonstrates the more intelligence it must be.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    one major diffference between humans and chimps : whilst chimp children learn from their parent(s) by watching how they do certain things (e.g. how to crack nuts or fish for termites), the adult - unlike human adults - makes no effort to teach them

    i don't know whether this indicates intelligence or some other mental characteristic
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  19. #18  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    The thing is, social evolution is reflected minimally in biological evolution. Sure, the parts of our brains that deal with language are more developed, but is that actual intelectual superiority? Or does it just let us retain knowledge by social interaction? Language is, after all, a relatively minor part of inteligence.
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