Department of Psychology, Center for Cognitive Science
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Do nonhuman animals share humans’ capacity for metacognition—that is, for monitoring or self-regulating their own cognitive states and cognitive processes? Comparative psychologists have approached this question by testing a dolphin, pigeons, rats, monkeys, macaques, apes , and humans using perception, memory, classification, and foraging paradigms. There is growing evidence that animals share functional parallels with humans’ conscious metacognition, though the field has not confirmed full experiential parallels and this remains an open question. I will review this new area of comparative inquiry, describing significant empirical milestones, remaining theoretical millstones, and the prospects for continuing progress in a rapidly developing area. This research area has the potential to open a new window on reflective mind in animals, illuminating its phylogenetic emergence and allowing researchers to trace the antecedents of human consciousness.
See more of: Brain and Behavior
See more of: Symposia