Chimpanzees really know what others can see in a competitive situation

Juliane Braeuer*, Josep Call, Michael Tomasello

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Chimpanzee's perspective-taking abilities are currently disputed. Here we show that in some food competition contexts, subordinate chimpanzees do take the visual perspective of dominant individuals, preferentially targeting a hidden piece of the food that the dominant cannot see over a piece that is visible to both individuals. However, the space where the animals compete is critical in determining whether subjects demonstrate this skill. We suggest that competition intensity, as mediated by these spatial factors, may play an important role in determining the strategy chimpanzees utilize in competitive contexts. Since some strategies may not require visual perspective taking in order to be successful, chimpanzees may not always demonstrate this skill. Differences in spatial arrangement may therefore account for the conflicting results of past studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-448
Number of pages10
JournalAnimal Cognition
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

Keywords

  • social cognition
  • food competition
  • visual perspective taking
  • FOLLOW GAZE DIRECTION
  • PAN-TROGLODYTES
  • MACACA-MULATTA
  • RHESUS MACAQUES
  • SPECIES FOLLOW
  • CONSPECIFICS
  • FOOD
  • INFERENCES
  • EVOLUTION
  • CHILDREN

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