Assessing the validity of ape-human comparisons: a reply to Boesch (2007).

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Boesch (2007) criticizes research comparing ape and human cognition on the basis of both internal and external validity. The authors show here that most of those criticisms are not valid because: (i) most threats to internal validity (e.g., conspecific experimenters for humans but not apes) are controlled for experimentally; (ii) externally, there is no empirical evidence that captive apes have fewer cognitive skills than wild apes and indeed some evidence (especially from human-raised apes) that they have more; and (iii) externally, there is no empirical evidence that Western middle-class children have different cognitive skills from other children at very early ages in basic cognitive domains. Although difficult, with appropriate methodological care, experimental cross-species comparisons may be validly made.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tomasello, M; Call, J

Published Date

  • November 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 122 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 449 - 452

PubMed ID

  • 19014270

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-2087

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0735-7036

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/0735-7036.122.4.449


  • eng