ABSTRACT

There are numerous though trivial aspects that distinguish animals from humans. Animals do not suffer from boredom, do not have the ability of imagination, and do not “plan ahead”. They exist only in the here and now and cannot distinguish between the past, the present and the future. Their memory is not immediately concerned with the past at all but rather with helping to cope with demands placed on them in the present. Of course, they can rely on their memories to inform them where to find food they themselves have hidden, which places or animals pose particular dangers, which ones they should best avoid, and which techniques they need to get at termites or to open a nutshell. But when they do call up this information or these “memories”, they are not aware that they themselves are remembering something. Recall is then only a direct reaction to a demand perceived in a situation, such as having to find food or a safe place, or to defend themselves against an opponent. This kind of memory is purely procedural and executes standard procedures or ones that have been learned. The mammals with the highest degree of development, even the nonhominid primates, basically have only an “experiential” memory at their disposal. As we will show later, this is also true of humans in their early developmental phases.1