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Self-awareness in animals and humans Developmental Perspectives. Edited by Uue Taylor Parker Robert W. Mitchell and Maria L. Boccia. New York Cambridge University Press. 1994. 442 pp. ISBN 0-521-44108-0. $59

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Book Reviews
yond the original formulations in terms of
theory and research methodology. Since the
DE- contributors are in the forefront of comparaVELOPMENTAL PERSPECTIVES.
Edited by Sue tive and developmental studies of selfTaylor Parker, Robert W. Mitchell, and awareness, the book is arguably one of the
Maria L. Boccia. New York: Cambridge most comprehensive indices of progress beUniversity Press. 1994. 442 pp. ISBN ing made in this area of research.
As far as scholarship goes, the quality of
0-521-44108-0.$59.95 (Cloth).
the chapters is somewhat uneven. While
As the forward of this edited volume some contributors offer critical and astute
states, there has been a renewed interest in examinations of what might be learned from
the nature of subjective experience. Central MSR and alternative measures of selfto these inquiries is the development of the awareness, others offer little insight into the
sense of self. Traditionally, the self has been fundamental questions being addressed, or
characterized as having two components. they propound theoretical explanations
One component is the object who is per- which seem to lack empirical support. Noneceived and thought about, and the other is theless, the good chapters make the book
the subject who thinks and constructs well worth reading. Notable contributions in
knowledge. Based on proceedings from a Part I include a fine review of the literature
conference, the book provides an interdisci- by Mitchell, a chapter by Gergely relating
plinary, cross-species examination of the self-awareness to Theory of Mind, and a
emergence of self-awareness. In both com- scholarly discussion by Gomez contrasting
parative and human developmental re- ethological and developmental approaches
search, mirror self-recognition (MSR) has to the examination of mutual awareness in
been considered a hallmark of this capabil- primates.
The three chapters in Part I1 are insightity, and most of the chapters include some
ful. Two offer new paradigms for testing the
discussion of mirror-related behaviors.
The book is divided into five sections. The child's understanding of the self (Watson;
chapters in Part I provide diverse perspec- Gopnik and Meltzom, and all provide extives on how the self might be defined and plicit and rich theories for the development
examined. Part I1 focuses on the develop- of this phenomenon. Included is a discussion
ment of self-awareness in humans. In Part of self-detection in terms of a connectionist
111,the contributors examine the prevalence model (Watson), an argument asserting that
of this ability in great apes, primarily in subjective self-awareness requires a mental
terms of species differences in MSR perfor- model of self (Hart and Fegley), and a develmance. Part IV tackles the issue of whether opmental perspective of self-awareness that
animals other than humans and great apes is couched in terms of imitation and Theory
are capable of self-awareness, and Part V of Mind (Gopnik and Meltzoff).
consists of a summary chapter in which two
Noteworthy chapters in Part I11 include
of the editors attempt to integrate the book's an excellent critical analysis by Swartz and
Evans which outlines some questions that
diverse contents.
Overall, this volume provides an excellent need to be addressed in comparative studies
overview of research on self-awareness in of self-awareness. Others provide new stratanimals and humans. Gordon Gallup and egies for testing this capacity in great apes.
Michael Lewis, who conducted early studies Specifically, Boysen, Bryan and Shreyer deof MSR in great apes and children, respec- scribe a paradigm to assess whether a chimtively, each contribute a chapter in which panzee recognizes its own shadow. Along
they discuss their pioneering work in rela- similar lines, Law and Lock focus on
tion to current lines of thought. It is clear whether gorillas can identify themselves in
from this volume that the field has gone be- a live video. In addition, the chapter by
Patterson and Cohn provides a demonstration of MSR in a gorilla; their finding is significant because of previous negative performance by other gorillas on this task.
Part IVis interesting because it addresses
the challenge of assessing self-awareness in
monkeys, dolphins, and pigeons. Much of
the previous work in the field has focused on
primates (mostly great apes), with human
subjective experience being the standard. A
number of contributors to this volume question whether the aforementioned approach
is appropriate. In this section, chapters by
Thompson and Boatright-Horowitz, Anderson, and Boccia offer insight into methodological factors and cognitive processes
which may contribute to differences between monkeys and great apes in their performance on MSR tasks. The chapters on
dolphins (Marten and Psarakos; Marino, Reiss, and Gallup) and the single contribution
on pigeons (Thompson and Contie) are notable because of issues they raise about measuring self-awareness in these animals. In
the case of dolphins, the challenge seems to
be in developing appropriate paradigms t o
assess this ability in a species that undoubtedly perceives the world much differently
than we do. In the case of pigeons, Thompson and Contie put forth the intriguing idea
that a propensity to internalize actions may
be necessary for the emergence of the cognitive processes underlying self-awareness.
In summary, Self-Awareness in Animals
and Humans: Developmental Perspectives is
a significant contribution to the scientific
literature. Its major weakness is its relative
lack of integration. Although this volume resulted from a conference, most of the con-
tributors did little to acknowledge the perspectives of others. Therefore, it was
difficult t o determine the extent to which
conflicting or seemingly incompatible views
could be reconciled. The concluding chapter
by Parker and Mitchell (Part V) did much to
mitigate this problem. However, a similar
commentary at the end of each of the major
sections would have produced a more cohesive work.
A lesser criticism is that the title is somewhat misleading. Only three chapters are
devoted to the development of self-awareness in humans. Although these chapters
are relatively lengthy, additional contributions would have resulted in a more balanced volume. The book also does not appear
to be primarily developmental in its perspective. In the chapters dealing with selfawareness in nonhuman animals, comparatively little attention is given to the
development of this capacity. (A notable exception is a longitudinal study of an orangutan by Miles.)
The greatest strengths of the book are its
ambitious approach and the caliber of the
scholars it brought together. Most of the
chapters are thoughtful, well-written, and
provide new data and direction for this exciting field. It is a noteworthy example of interdisciplinary collaboration and may well foster important breakthroughs in comparative studies of self-awareness.
Edited by Duane Quiatt and Junichiro Itani.
Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado.
1994.391 pp. ISBN 0-87081-313-7. $32.50
mans. Aside from the evident truth that humans, monkeys, and apes can all trace their
ancestry back to a common primate ancestor, the promise of explorations of nonhuman primate social behavior and ecology for
understanding human evolution often
seems to be just that-an unfilfilled promise. To be sure, there is no shortage of models which attempt to explain human evolution on the basis of analogies with a given
Many cultural anthropologists have never
been completely comfortable with the fact
that many anthropology faculty positions
are occupied by people who do not study hu-
Department of Psychology
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington
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development, self, boccia, uue, awareness, university, parker, roberts, isbn, human, marie, 1994, new, cambridge, york, taylor, 521, animals, edited, mitchell, 44108, 442, perspectives, pres
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