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I am passing on a query from a colleague that I thought might find
resonance on this
list. If anyone has useful suggestions could you pass along to me,
One of the more interesting (Russian) primate psychologists I came across
many years ago was N.I. Voitonis. He worked a lot with baboons and
macaques at Sukhumi and published a great book 'Predistoriia Intellekta'.
He distinguished two types of intelligence: analytic intelligence and
synthetic intelligence. His basic conclusion was that monkeys and humans
share analytic intelligence, but synthetic intelligence is largely the
domain of humans. A prototypic experiment was to allow the monkey to play
with a kid's ring pyramid. He would give the toy to a monkey or a child
with the rings stacked on the post. Both the monkey and the kid would
quickly take it apart, but only the kid had any inclination to put it back
together...regardless of how many times he showed the monkey how to do it.
I'm working on a manuscript about cognitive and behavioral differences
between species and find the analytic/synthetic intelligence dichotomy a
useful generalization when it comes to characterizing the results of
diverse tool-use studies and language studies. I'd like to tie the concept
to some modern 'school' of psychology but haven't had much luck on the
human side. Do you know of experimental psychologists who think that way?