Animal cognition
Animal cognition is the title given to the study of the mental capacities of non-human animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s. It has developed out of comparative psychology
Comparative psychology
Comparative psychology generally refers to the scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of non-human animals. However, scientists from different disciplines do not always agree on this definition...

, but has also been strongly influenced by the approach of ethology
Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology....

, behavioral ecology
Behavioral ecology
Behavioral ecology, or ethoecology, is the study of the ecological and evolutionary basis for animal behavior, and the roles of behavior in enabling an animal to adapt to its environment...

, and evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...

. The alternative name cognitive ethology
Cognitive ethology
The fusion of cognitive science and classical ethology into cognitive ethology "emphasizes observing animals under more-or-less natural conditions, with the objective of understanding the evolution, adaptation , causation, and development of the species-specific behavioral repertoire" - .- Relation...

 is therefore sometimes used; much of what used to be considered under the title of animal intelligence is now thought of under this heading.

In practice, animal cognition mostly concerns mammals, especially primates, cetaceans
Cetacean intelligence
Cetacean intelligence denotes the cognitive capabilities of the Cetacea order of mammals, which includes whales, porpoises, and dolphins.-Brain size:...

, and elephants
Elephant intelligence
Elephants are amongst the world's most intelligent species. With a mass of just over 5 kg , elephant brains are larger than those of any other land animal, and although the largest whales have body masses twenty-fold those of a typical elephant, whale brains are barely twice the mass of an...

, as well as dogs
Dog intelligence
Dog intelligence is the ability of a dog to learn, think, and solve problems. Dog trainers, owners, and researchers have as much difficulty agreeing on a method for testing canine intelligence as they do for human intelligence...

, cats
Cat intelligence
Cat intelligence is the considered capacity of learning, thinking, problem solving, reasoning, and adaptability possessed by the domestic cat. Intelligence in cats is demonstrated by the capacity to develop and use tools, learn new behavior techniques, apply previously acquired knowledge to new...

, and rodents.