Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


We review Part Three, “Whines and Pet Peeves,” of Safina’s book Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. Part Three is concerned mainly with the evidence for Theory of Mind in nonhuman animals. Like Safina, we believe that animals have a Theory of Mind, and like Safina, we question the utility of such concepts. There are many studies that Safina could have used to support his argument, and although some are mentioned, he prefers to make his point mainly by relying on anecdotes and introspection. The end result, we believe, is to devalue the scientific process.

Author Biography

Michael Colombo (Professor) and Melissa Johnston (PhD student) are both in the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Their main areas of research are the neural basis of learning and memory in the avian brain and comparative animal cognition.