Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in Evolution and Human Behavior 22:6 (November 2001), pp. 439–442; doi: 10.1016/S1090-5138(01)00068-X Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. Used by permission.


Heyes and Huber have edited a volume that surveys much of the current research into cognition in animals, reflecting the strengths and weaknesses of this field. The book is divided into five sections. In the first part, titled “Orientations,” four authors lay out their basic general views of the field. The first two chapters in this section are by the editors. First, Heyes makes the case for an approach to evolutionary psychology that she labels “in the round,” an approach that would encompass studies of human and nonhuman animals alike and include a broad range of contemporary evolutionary approaches. This is a broad, well-visioned charge. Sadly, neither the book nor the field itself lives up to this promise as yet. ... Given the title, one reasonably expects to find both evolution and cognition as central themes of the book. But I was struck by how little evolution there is in Cognition and Evolution. ... And very little use seems to be made of the methods of evolutionary biology. ... However, these omissions are characteristics of the field, not the book. The book does do a good job of giving an overview of much of what is going on in the study of animal cognition today. The challenges of more adequately integrating evolutionary and cognitive approaches is one that we all need to confront. Indeed, the major issue confronting evolutionary psychology today is probably the challenge of adapting the methods of evolutionary biology to the study of human behavior in an evolutionary context and developing new methods. Only when this is successfully accomplished will we be able to rigorously test the hypotheses that spring from the Darwinian approach.