Tag Archives: Research

Animals and the definition of intelligence

I think that many people too quickly come to believe that (some) animals are intelligen. Specifically pet-owners tend to believe that “their” special creature definitely must be intelligent.

I’m certainly not convinced. Some time I go I thought it is easy to tell which behaviour is intelligent, or not; but today I believe that objective criteria are hard to find. It may still be possible to argue specific behaviours or specific cases, but to instate objective criteria to decide in general about intelligence… seems to be hard or impossible.

And there are astonishing specific cases. You can see reports or videos where you really wonder: is this a fake with long and specific training of the animal; is it just coincidence; or is it a collection of very specific natural behaviour pattern, that put together create the impression of intelligent behaviour; or is it really Intelligence?

Currently I tend to think that a collection of thoroughly connected pieces of behaviour, you can call it evolution of behavioural patterns, combined together … can create the impression of intelligent behaviour. But it’s not necessarily intelligence. But I would not be sure enough to rule it out.

In any case, it is a very interesting topic and fun to watch…