As a result of mastering the materials of this chapter, the student must:


• provisions of the concept of the rational activity of L. Krushinsky's animals;

• the main techniques used to study the elementary thinking of animals;

be able to

• Analyze the share of rational activity in one form or another of behavior;

• navigate in the most important concepts of the founders of the behavioral science;


• Representations about the conduct of a comparative analysis of the rational activity of animals of different systematic groups.

Human thinking and rational activity of animals

Everyone who deals with a highly organized animal, sooner or later comes across a situation where the animal's behavior can be difficult to explain from the position of instincts or training, and it can only be interpreted as reasonable. Representations about the rudiments of thinking of animals and about the levels of its complexity have always been the subject of discussion and still continue to cause disagreements, although the very fact of the existence of intellectual behavior in higher animals is no longer in doubt by any of the scientists. To date, a huge number of facts have accumulated, which convincingly show that some forms of elementary thinking exist in a fairly wide range of vertebrates.

As LV Krushinsky notes, elementary thinking is not something out of the ordinary, but only one of the manifestations of complex forms of behavior with their congenital and acquired aspects and is integrated from individually variable components of behavior. The basis of intellectual behavior is the perception of complex relationships between the objects of the external world.

The most essential components that make up the intelligence of animals are the ability to make decisions in emergency situations, or actually mental activity (as defined by LV Krushinsky), as well as cognitive processes that include the ability to generalize, use the previous experience and etc. Our closest relatives - anthropoid apes - to some extent present elements of all the complex cognitive functions of man: generalization, abstraction, the assimilation of symbols. They also have some elements of self-awareness.

Thinking is the most complex form of a person's mental activity. Intellectual behavior of animals, of course, is deeply and fundamentally different from the thinking and intellect of man. Nevertheless, there is a certain similarity between them that allows us to draw analogies and regard the human mind as a divine gift inherent only to him, but as the highest stage of the evolution of the psyche.

Thinking and human intellect is one of the most global problems of psychology, the research of which is devoted to the work of many scientists. In psychology, there are a number of definitions of these most complex phenomena. But since this topic as a whole is beyond the scope of our training course, we will not consider all definitions and confine ourselves to the definition of thinking given by one of the coryphaeuses of Soviet psychology, AR Luria: "The act of thinking arises only when the subject has an appropriate motive , making the task relevant, and solving it necessary, and when the subject finds himself in a situation in which he does not have a ready solution to get out of it - habitual (ie acquired in the process of learning) or congenital. " Thus, according to Luria's thinking, he refers to acts of behavior that require the creation of an emergency program to solve a suddenly arising problem that can not be solved by trial and error. Similar views on this problem were also supported by H. N. Ladygin-Cotes.

In the most general form, psychologists distinguish the following forms of human thinking:

visual-efficient, built on the direct perception of objects in the process of dealing with them;

imaginative, based on representations and images;

inductive - the logical conclusion "from private to general", i.e. building analogies;

deductive - the logical inference from general to particular or "private to private", made in accordance with the rules of logic;

abstract-logical, or verbal, thinking, representing the most complex form.

Human verbal thinking is inextricably linked with speech. It is its most important device, which allows you to encode information using abstract symbols. It is through speech, i.e. second signal system, human thinking becomes generalized and mediated.

The thinking process is carried out with the help of the following thought operations - analysis, synthesis, comparison, generalization and abstraction. The result of the process of thinking in humans are concepts, judgments and inferences. The concept of intelligence. This term is used both in a broad and a narrow sense. In a broad sense, intelligence is the totality of all the cognitive functions of the individual, from sensation and perception to thinking and imagination, in a narrower sense, intellect is actually thinking.

According to leading United States psychologists, the following signs may be the criteria for the presence of the beginnings of thinking in animals:

• emergency appearance of a response in the absence of a ready solution (AR Luria);

• "cognitive selection of objective conditions essential for the action" (SL Rubinshtein);

• "generalized, indirect character of the reflection of reality; finding and discovering an essentially new (A. V. Brushlinsky);

• presence and execution of intermediate goals (AN Leontiev).

According to L.V. Krushinsky's definition, rational activity is the performance of adaptive behavioral animals in an emergency situation. This definition is in fact very close to the definition of thinking that AR Luria gives.

The ability of animals to display rational activity is directly dependent on the complexity of the structure of their central nervous system. The higher the phylogenetic level of the animal and the corresponding structural and functional organization of its brain, the greater range of intellectual capabilities it possesses. Rational activity allows the animal to choose the most biologically adequate forms of behavior in new situations. It is a unique adaptive mechanism that helps an animal to successfully survive in diverse and constantly changing environmental conditions. It is the manifestation of the elements of the mind that favors the survival of individuals and their reproduction in sudden and rapidly changing habitat changes. Along with training, rational activity is one of the important components of the individual-adaptive activity of animals and greatly contributes to the increase in the plasticity of their behavior.

The fundamental difference between rational activity and any form of education is that this form of adaptive behavior can be realized at the first encounter of the organism with an unusual situation created in its environment. As L. Krushinsky points out, the main property of the rational activity of animals is the ability to capture the simplest empirical laws linking objects and phenomena of the environment, and the ability to operate these laws in constructing behavioral programs in new situations.

Rational activity is one of the most important components of the cognitive processes underlying the nonverbal thinking and intelligence of animals. At the same time, undoubtedly, the mind of even the highest animals can not be compared to the intellect of man. Speaking of "mind", "intelligence", "intelligence", " and thinking animals, it must be borne in mind that in animals only their rudiments can be noted. Therefore, the intellect of animals is more correctly called elementary thinking or rational activity.

Elements of thinking are manifested in animals in different forms. They can be expressed, for example, in the ability to solve problems urgently through the operation of empirical laws, generalization, abstraction, comparison, inference, etc.

Numerous studies show that the beginnings of thinking are present in a fairly wide range of species of vertebrates - reptiles, birds, mammals of different orders. The most highly developed mammals - anthropoid apes - have the ability to generalize and are able to assimilate and use mediating languages ​​at the level of two or three year old children.

The history of studying the elementary thinking of animals has already been discussed in the first sections of this textbook, so in this chapter we will only try to systematize the results of an experimental study of this feature of behavior. The basic ideas about the mind of animals and its experimental study are described in detail in LV Krushinsky's monograph "Biological bases of rational activity" (1986), as well as in the book of his disciples, 3. I. Zorina and I. I. Poletaeva, "Elementary Animal Thinking" (2012).

Also We Can Offer!

Ошибка в функции вывода объектов.