This learn through observation by watching other animals

This
essay will discuss the argument of whether non-human animals have the same or
even higher level of intelligence than humans themselves especially when it
comes to language and communication and memory. The comparisons between humans
and other animals have been widely debated throughout the years.  With the dawn of comparative psychology,
interest has been taken into just how similar humans are to other species and
may argue many human qualities can be found in non-human animals also, such as
language, communication and memory.  But the
main question is, just how much are humans similar to non-human animals and
what distinguishes human intelligence from other species?  

 

Intelligence
can be seen as the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. There are
various types of intelligence this comes from Howard Gardener (1983), who was
an American developmental psychologist, who proposed 9 types of intelligence. One
can say that there are many species better than humans in some areas when it
comes to intelligence. For example, Chimpanzees have photographic memory which
is something only few humans can do. This shows chimpanzees have more spatial
intelligence than humans. However, humans can be seen as having higher mathematical
and essential intelligence than other non-human animals. Furthermore, another
example may be that Crows are very good at recognizing faces. In an experiment (Marzluff
& Angell),
scientists found that when they harassed the crows with masks and later showed
up again in those same masks the crows would attack them and not only the crows
that they harassed. This shows that the crows communicated with each other that
the men in masks were a target. Having said that, humans have far better memory
than any other animal as most humans are capable to remember a specific event
for a life time.

 

Natural
selection distinguishes human’s reasoning abilities from other species, this
was proposed by Darwin. Humans ability to reason, plan and problem solve gives them
an advantage over other species. Learning can be termed the acquisition of
knowledge (Dickinson, 1985). Animals mainly learn
through observation by watching other animals and no outside reinforcement is
needed for observational learning to happen. There have been many experimental
studies of learning that involve using a range of animals from protozoa to
humans using variety of tasks. These studies show that there is no relationship
between the speed at which animals learn compared to their brain maturity. For example,
Skard (1950) compared the speed at which rats and humans mastered a complex
maze and found no difference whatsoever in the number of trials required to attain
an errorless performance (Pearce, 2008). These studies show
that it would be unwise to look at speed of learning as an index of animal
intelligence

 

When
asked to establish one of the things that causes humans to differ from animals,
individuals are more likely to say that humans’ ability to converse and use
language is fundamental to human life because it allows them to conveniently
express their thoughts and feelings. Chomsky (1957) argues that language is
unique to humans and that without it our lives would be a little different to those
of other animals (Pearce, 2008).

Most
animals’ area able to communicate but this raises questions as what sort of
information do they communicate and whether animals communicate with the same level
of intelligence as humans? Well, non-human animals such as ants use pheromones and
sounds to communicate social status and distress amongst each other (Arnold, 2013). Also, another example
are bees who dance in order to tell each other where to find the honey. They have
specific movements in form of a dance which will tell the other bees where they
found the honey. However, humans mostly use language in order to communicate. Humans
use phonemes which are distinctive sounds which are arbitrary and have no
meaning. But humans use these sounds in many ways in order to create meaning
out of them and communicate effectively.

 

In
addition to this, this can therefore show that humans have higher creativity
when it comes to their language compared to most animals because humans can
arrange and rearrange words in sentences to bring about new meanings and
emotions compare to most animals which shows that non-human animals often have closed
commutation because their language centre is a closed system (Schutten ,
2015).
For animals, the degree which communication takes place vary in complexity. Most
of the time acts of communication by animals can be relatively simple and may
involve only a single feature. For example, aggression in cats is indicated by
arching of the back and also for birds, a change in bird song in the spring is
a sign of the sexual readiness of males. These examples show that most animals
react only when the stimulus is present where as humans are able to talk about
things regardless if they happen now or later. However, it may seem that only
humans have the ability to use language but in fact some birds, e.g. the
bullfinch, can pick up the song of another species, just like children can
learn a language they are exposed to and the song of a single species of bird
may also have different dialects just like humans may learn to understand
different languages around them (Fromkin & Rodman, 1998).

 

In
conclusion, animals are as intelligent as they need to be to survive in their
environment. For example, Chimpanzees are considered to be the most intelligent
of the Apes because of their ability to identify and construct tools for survival.
A study done by Nakajima, Arimitsu and Lattal (2002) involved university
students ranking the intelligence of a variety of animals compared to that of
humans. The results showed that chimpanzees were regarded as being the most
intelligent animal whereas the amoeba is seen as the least intelligent.

Therefore
overall, we can conclude that non-human animals can in fact show many types of
intelligence through memory and in the way, they communicate, learn and problem
solve but these cannot be compared to human intelligence because intelligence
is not a standardised measure and is very subjective and therefore this means
that it is difficult to compare between species. Therefore, using humans as a
basis for measuring intelligence would be inappropriate.