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Behavioural Biology . Cognitive Science

Research report 2007 - Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Do Chimpanzees know what others see – or only where they look?


Tomasello, Michael; Call, Josep


Vergleichende und Entwicklungspsychologie (Prof. Dr. (University of Georgia) Michael Tomasello)
MPI für evolutionäre Anthropologie, Leipzig

A variety of recent studies suggest that apes know what other individuals do and do not see. The results of each study may be explained by postulating some behavioural rule that individuals have learned that does not involve an understanding of seeing. The patchiness of coverage gives this kind of explanation a very ad hoc feeling, especially since there is rarely any concrete evidence that animals actually have had the requisite experiences to learn the behavioural rule – there is just a theoretical possibility. It is thus more plausible to hypothesize that apes really do know what others do and do not see in many circumstances.

For the full text, see the German version.

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