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Psychologist to Discuss Human and Animal Intelligence

Named Time Magazine's "World's 100 Most Influential People," Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal will deliver the 2017 Fawl Psychology Lecture.
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Named Time Magazine's "World's 100 Most Influential People," Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal will deliver the 2017 Fawl Psychology Lecture.

Dutch-American psychology professor Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal will draw comparisons between human and animal mental capacities at Nebraska Wesleyan University's annual Clifford Fawl Psychology Lecture.

His lecture, “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?” will be held Thursday, March 30 at 7 p.m. in O’Donnell Auditorium.

The wall between human and animal intelligence is starting to look like a Swiss cheese, says de Waal. Animal intelligence has been scientifically proven to be similar to that of humans. Primates are considered political, cultural, and even moral beings. Scientific research in this area has uncovered similar findings in animals beyond primates—encompassing the entire animal kingdom. In his talk, de Waal will provide an overview of these results and the methods used to find them, pulling examples from primates, elephants, octopuses, cetaceans, and fish.

de Waal is a psychology professor at Emory University and director of the Living Links Center at Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He is best known for his work on the behavior and social intelligence of primates. Since the release of his book, Chimpanzee, de Waal has continued to draw parallels between primate and human behavior. His work has been published in scientific journals Science, Nature, and Scientific American. In 2007, Time named him one of the world’s “100 Most Influential People Today.” He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and named as one of the “Great Minds of Science” by Discover.

The lecture is free and open to the public. O’Donnell Auditorium is located in the Rogers Center for Fine Arts at 50th Street and Huntington Ave.

The Clifford Fawl Lecture honors the long-time professor and chair of Nebraska Wesleyan’s Psychology Department. The series brings in nationally-recognized speakers in the area of psychology.