Marc D. Hauser

Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think Translated from the English (United States) by Marie-France Desjeux. Publication date : October 1, 2002

A slender loris comes up to a zoo keeper and hugs him. A dog lowers its head and whines when its master is unhappy. Is such behaviour a sign of affection and empathy — or are other mechanisms at work, to explain the animals’ near-human behaviour? Why do chimps and dolphins form coalitions to defend themselves? How do lions determine, from far away, the number of gazelles calmly watering by a stream? How is it that a few species can recognise their own image in a mirror? These questions lead the author to an essential examination of how animals assemble the basic tool kit that we call the mind: the ability to count, to navigate, to recognise individuals, to communicate and to socialise. Marc Hauser takes us on a fascinating scientific journey into the intellectual and emotional lives of animals. And he shows that it is by studying their environment that we can understand how their brains function.

Marc D. Hauser is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Harvard University, where he is a fellow of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Program. Besides performing laboratory research, he has done extensive fieldwork in Kenya, Uganda and Puerto Rico.