Books : reviews

Louise Barrett.
Beyond the Brain: how body and environment shape animal and human minds.
Princeton University Press. 2011

When a chimpanzee stockpiles rocks as weapons or when a frog sends out mating calls, we might easily assume these animals know their own motivations—that they use the same psychological mechanisms that we do. But as Beyond the Brain shows, this is a dangerous assumption, because animals have different evolutionary trajectories, ecological niches, and physical attributes. How do these differences influence animal thinking and behavior? Removing our human-centered spectacles, Louise Barrett investigates the mind and brain and offers an alternative approach for understanding animal and human cognition. Illustrating how the body, brain, and cognition are tied to the wider world, she argues that thinking and behavior constitute a property not just of the brain but of the whole organism.