|MadSci Network: Zoology|
Dear Lyndsey, thank-you for your thoughtful question. A simple answer is "yes", most experts believe that pigs are smarter than dogs. Note however, that on an individual basis, it is possible for a particular dog to be "smarter" than a particular pig and so on. On the other hand, like most other questions in science, this simple answer is only part of the story. The term "IQ" (intelligence quotient) refers to a test score. In principle, an animal can be given a test and the obtained score can compared to other animals via norms, so a derived score can be computed and comparisons can be made both within and between species. In humans, the score you obtain on an IQ test is compared to a group of persons of similar age, and a relative standing is formulated (which is the IQ score). However, as far as I know, this has never been done with any animals, so my answer about the "IQ" of pigs above is simply an educated guess. In other words, we do not really have a construct for animals that is equivalent to the term of IQ in humans. However, psychologists have studied various processes in animals that may be correlated with intelligence. I have an extensive list of readings for you below with illustrations of these. For example, behavior varies in complexity and the more complex behavior is usually considered to be positively correlated with higher levels of intelligence. In this case, we know that some animals use tools, some animals appear to have something similar to language and a lot of animals are very good at solving various puzzles. One of the problems with cross-species comparisons (aside from the enormous amount of time it would take) is that "intelligence" is very much task-dependent. For example, there are tasks that dolphins perform better than humans, and pigeons perform better than Dolphins. A similar problem is that psychologists have a difficult time agreeing on a common definition of IQ for humans. Given the complexity of our animal kingdom, it would be a daunting task to come up with an acceptable definition of IQ for animals across the various species. I have listed a number of sources below for you to do further investigations on this topic. The internet source has a number of interesting examples of animal behaviors that may be considered indicative of intelligence. http://www.wnet.org/nature/animalmind/index.html Breland, K. & Breland, M. (1961). The misbehavior of organisms. American Psychologist, 16, 681-683. The Intelligence of Dogs : A Guide to the Thoughts, Emotions, and Inner Lives of Our Canine Companions. Stanley Coran, Bantam Books. An interesting account of animal behavior observation and interpretation could be found in: Sebeok, T.A. & Rosenthal, R. (1981). The Clever Hans phenomenon: Communication with horses, whales, apes, and people. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 364. Denny, M. R. (1980). Complex behavior: Traditional comparative psychology. In M. R. Denny (Ed.), Comparative psychology: An evolutionary analysis of animal behavior (pp. 249-266). New York: John Wiley. Denny, M. R., & Ratner, S. C. (1970). Comparative psychology. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press.
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