Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/51

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41
THE PROBLEMS OF COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY.

infants. Both show at parallel stages of development the appearance of the same faculties, often in strikingly similar forms. Just as infants learn to distinguish between men and women, between persons differently dressed, between old and young, kindred and stranger, so an intelligent dog learns to distinguish between visitors and beggars, between strangers and friends of the family, between those who will fondle him and those who will not. A single illustration is all we can stop to recount. A child was accustomed to hear prayers read by the head of the household, who while thus engaged often rested his head on his hand. When asked to say prayers, the child assumed this at first inexplicable attitude and mumbled something under its breath. The real process was incomprehensible, the outward form had been mimicked and some insignificant detail seized upon as the essential. Precisely the same is true of the behavior of the monkey described by Dr. Romanes. This pet animal was given the key of a trunk in which nuts were kept, and "every time he put the key into the lock and failed to open the trunk he passed the key round and round the outside of the lock several times. The explanation of this is that my mother's sight being bad, she often misses the lock when putting in the key, and then feels round and round the lock with the key; the monkey therefore evidently seems to think that this feeling round and round the lock with the key is in some way necessary to the success of unlocking the lock, so that, although he could see perfectly well how to put in the key straight himself, he went through the useless operation first." Not alone can this general parallelism between infant and animal traits be maintained, but to a considerable extent can it be shown that the powers and traits appearing earliest in the child are those already present in the lower groups of animals; and Dr. Romanes has drawn up a table exhibiting the first appearance of various emotions and intellectual powers in the animal scale and in the life history of human individuals, in which he makes the order very largely the same for both.

We may now proceed to illustrate the relation between child psychology and anthropological psychology, to trace points of community between the infancy of the race and the infancy of the individual. At the stage at which, owing largely to the development of language, the analogies between infant and animal traits become weak and scanty, the comparison between the child and the savage increases in extent and importance. Difficult as it is to select typical instances of this varied and suggestive similarity, both in emotional and intellectual traits, yet the attempt must be made. In the emotional sphere we would instance instability of character, impulsiveness, an easy and quick transition from one series of emotions to their opposites, violent passion upon