Charles H. Turner, pioneer in animal cognition

A recent piece in Science may be of interest to AHP readers: “Charles H. Turner, pioneer in animal cognition” by Hiruni Samadi Galpayage Dona and Lars Chittka. The piece begins,

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Charles Henry Turner (1867–1923) established a research program that was in sharp contrast to prevailing ideas regarding animal behavior and cognition. Despite facing almost insurmountable barriers because of his African American ethnicity, he published more than 70 papers, including several in Science (1–3), on comparative brain anatomy in birds and invertebrates, individual variation of behavior and learning competences, and intelligent problem-solving in a large variety of animals, at a time when the dominant ideas only credited animals with the simplest of learning abilities. But his discoveries and conceptual advances failed to gain the recognition they deserved, and his works were later all but forgotten—indeed, some recent animal cognition research has reinvented wheels that had already been fashioned by Turner.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.