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The following review appeared in the March 2016 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email email@example.com.
Science & Technology
Biology - Zoology
This book is an extremely rich, powerful collection of essays exploring the what, who, when, where, how, and why of innovativeness and creativity in nonhuman animals. With contributions by top experts, the main strength of this edited volume is its transdisciplinary approach. It is theory driven, methodology oriented, and data based. The contributors do an excellent job of reviewing the environmental determinants (e.g., opportunity, necessity), sociodemographic drivers (e.g., group size, tolerance), psychological underpinnings (e.g., intentionality, emotion), neuroanatomical basis, and neurophysiological correlates, including the various constraints, on behavioral innovation, with an emphasis on cost-benefit ratios. The argument that innovation propensity is more an exaptation than an adaptation is convincing. Examples of innovative capacities encompass different animal taxa (e.g., insects, cetaceans, monkeys, and great apes) and cover both functional creativity (e.g., problem solving, tool invention, vocal communication) and seemingly purposeless creativity (e.g., so-called artistic skills). Even though the focus is animal innovation, each chapter includes a commentary section written by a researcher on human creativity, providing a well-balanced approach to the subject. One criticism: recent findings on the links between innovativeness and personality traits in animals (e.g., openness to new experience) could have been better acknowledged.--J-B. Leca, University of Lethbridge