Dolphin Research: Summaries

seeing through sound

understanding language

understanding questions

communication through television


pointing gestures

awareness of one's own behaviors

awareness of one's own body parts

behavioral mimicry

dolphin research publications

Whale Research: Summaries

background of whale research

alaskan humpbacks

hawaiians and humpbacks

mating and reproduction

migration and habitat use

role of size

social behavior on winter grounds

whale song

whale research publications


Cognition and Language Competencies of Bottlenosed Dolphins

Louis M. Herman
Department of Psychology and Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory,
University of Hawaii)

(C) 1986 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Like any biological trait, cognitive characteristics may vary widely across species. A fundamental task for comparative psychologists and cognitive ethologists (see Griffin, 1981) is to describe these characteristics for any species of interest. The goals of the description are to understand the general and specific structures and processes of cognition, the dimensions of cognition, its continuities and discontinuities across species, how the described cognitive characteristics for given species may relate to the ecological and social pressures of that species’ natural world, and what pressures may select for the evolution of particular cognitive traits.

Herman, L. M. (1986). Cognition and language competencies of bottlenosed dolphins. In R.J. Schusterman, J. Thomas, and F. G. Wood (Eds.) Dolphin cognition and behavior: A comparitive approach, 221-251. Hilladale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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