Visual Imagery in the thought of Monkeys and Apes

Authored by: Christopher Gauker

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds

Print publication date:  July  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138822887
eBook ISBN: 9781315742250
Adobe ISBN:


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Explanations of animal problem-solving often represent our choices as limited to two: first, we can explain the observed behavior as a product of trained responses to sensory stimuli, or second, we can explain it as due to the animal’s possession of general rules utilizing general concepts. My objective in this essay is to bring to life a third alternative, namely, an explanation in terms of imagistic cognition. The theory of imagistic cognition posits representations that locate objects in a multidimensional similarity space. It proposes that an animal’s expectations can be explained on the basis of the similarity of novel objects to objects previously encountered. The animal can predict the behavior of the novel object by producing a mental movie of the novel object by morphing it into an object, the behavior of which has previously been observed.

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