Cognitive ethology lecture (bb2n1e32)

specialization obligatory optional, 2 credits, 90 minutes/weekly
Semester: autumn
Requirement: exam (5) (write exam)
Obligatory/Recommended studies: ethology
Responsible person: József Topál, PhD
Lecturer: József Topál, PhD
Consultation possibilities: after the last lecture
Books: slides of the lectures; Shettleworth, S. J. (2010) Cognition, Evolution, and Behavior New York: Oxford

1. A brief history of the study of animal mind: from Darwin to Griffin. The rise of modern cognitive ethology and current challenges.
2. Methodological considerations: the basics of experimental design in the field of animal cognition. Clever-Hans effect and the role Clever Hans plays in methodological development
3. How do we define animal intelligence? An integration of the cognitive, evolutionary and ecological-adaptational approaches.
4. The dual nature of cognitive processing. Physical cognition I.: abilities underlying object representation. Experiments on deductive reasoning in human and nonhuman animals.
5. Physical cognition II: The origins of human numerical ability. A comparative investigation of skills supporting transitive inference.
6. Social cognition I.: Categories of social learning, tool use and innovative behaviours among nonhuman species.
7. Social cognition II.: The evolutionary roots of imitation. The ethological description of play behaviour. Why do (some) animals like to play?
8. Specific aspects of social cognition: social competence I.: Theory of mind in nonhuman species. Self-recognition and self-awareness.
9. Social competence II.: Evolution and development of the human theory of mind abilities.
10. Going to the roots of communication skills in humans and animals.
11. The evolutionary origin of linguistic skills: language experiments with apes and other species.
12. The dog as a model for understanding human social cognition I.
13. The dog as a model for understanding human social cognition II.
14. How cognitive ethology can contribute to our understanding ethics and animal welfare issues?