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Books & Authors

Animal Intelligence and Emotions

A perennially interesting, contested, and evolving topic -- what are nonhuman animal's capacities for thought and emotion? And is it anything like how humans think and feel? Investigate with these books.

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by F. B. M. de (Frans B. M.) Waal
What separates your mind from that of an animal? Is it the ability to design tools; a sense of self; or the grasp of past and future? In recent decades these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence, offering a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we've underestimated their abilities for too long.

Being a Beast : Adventures Across the Species Divide by Charles Foster
To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the nonhumans. To do that, he chose five animals and lived alongside them, sleeping as they slept, eating what they ate, learning to sense the landscape through the senses they used. In this lyrical, intimate, and completely radical look at the lives of animals, Charles Foster mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir, and ultimately presents an inquiry into the human experience in our world, carried out by exploring the full range of the life around us.

Mama's Last Hug : Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves by F. B. M. de (Frans B. M.) Waal
Frans de Waal has spent four decades at the forefront of animal research. Following up on the best-selling Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, which investigated animal intelligence, Mama's Last Hug delivers a fascinating exploration of the rich emotional lives of animals.

Not So Different : Finding Human Nature in Animals by Nathan H Lents
In "Not So Different," the biologist Nathan H. Lents argues that the same evolutionary forces of cooperation and competition have shaped both humans and animals. Identical emotional and instinctual drives govern our actions. By acknowledging this shared programming, the human experience no longer seems unique, but in that loss we gain a fuller appreciation of such phenomena as sibling rivalry and the biological basis of grief, helping us lead more grounded, moral lives among animals, our closest kin.

Other Minds : The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith
The leading philosopher of science and award-winning author of Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection provides photos taken during his advanced scuba dives to share stories of cephalopod encounters and insights into how nature became self-aware.

The emotional lives of animals : a leading scientist explores animal joy, sorrow, and empathy--and why they matter by Marc. Bekoff
Based on award-winning scientist Marc Bekoff's years studying social communication in a wide range of species, this important book shows that animals have rich emotional lives. Bekoff skillfully blends extraordinary stories of animal joy, empathy, grief, embarrassment, anger, and love with the latest scientific research confirming the existence of emotions that common sense and experience have long implied. Filled with Bekoff's light humor and touching stories, The Emotional Lives of Animals is a clarion call for reassessing both how we view animals and how we treat them.

The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. In fact, according to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence. Like humans, many birds have enormous brains relative to their size. Although small, bird brains are packed with neurons that allow them to punch well above their weight. In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores the newly discovered brilliance of birds and how it came about.

The Inner Life of Animals : Love, Grief, and Compassion : Surprising Observations of a Hidden World by Peter Wohlleben
Presents a revelatory exploration of the diverse emotional intelligence of animals as demonstrated in stories about loving pigs, cheating magpies, scheming roosters, and rats who regret bad choices.

The Soul of an Octopus : A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
An investigation of the emotional and physical world of the octopus.

What It's Like to Be a Dog : And Other Adventures in Animal Neuroscience by Gregory Berns
What is it like to be a dog? A bat? Or a dolphin? To find out, neuroscientist Gregory Berns and his team began with a radical step: they taught dogs to go into an MRI scanner-completely awake. They discovered what makes dogs individuals with varying capacities for self-control, different value systems, and a complex understanding of human speech. And dogs were just the beginning.


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