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Book Chapter

The shaping of animals’ minds


Salwiczek,  Lucie H.
Abteilung Gahr, Seewiesen, Max Planck Institut für Ornithologie, Max Planck Society;


Wickler,  Wolfgang
Emeritus, Seewiesen, Max Planck Institut für Ornithologie, Max Planck Society;
Verhaltensphysiologie, Seewiesen, Max Planck Institut für Ornithologie, Max Planck Society;

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Salwiczek, L. H., & Wickler, W. (2007). The shaping of animals’ minds. In P. Hauf, & F. Försterling (Eds.), Making minds. The shaping of human minds through social context (pp. 179-195). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-E971-B
Mind is seen as a collection of abilities to take decisions in biologically relevant situations. Mind shaping means to form habits and decision rules of how to proceed in a given situation. Problem-specific decision rules constitute a modular mind; adaptive mind-shaping is likely to be module-specific. We present examples from different behaviour ‘faculties’ throughout the animal kingdom, grouped according to important mind-shaping factors to illustrate three basically different mind-shaping processes: (I) external stimuli guide the differentiation of a nervous structure that controls a given behaviour; (II) information comes in to direct a fixed behaviour pattern to its biological goal, or to complete an inherited behaviour program; (III) specific stimuli activate or inactivate a pre-programmed behaviour. Mind-shaping phenomena found in the animal kingdom are suggested as ‘null-hypotheses’ when looking at how human minds might be shaped.