Concealing facial evidence of mood: Perspective-taking in a captive gorilla?

Joanne E Tanner, Richard William Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A captive female lowland gorilla was observed repeatedly to hide or inhibit her playface by placing one or both hands over the face. When this behaviour was seen play usually did not follow immediately even if other signals associated with play were simultaneously being made by the gorilla. By contrast, a playface predicted that play would follow within a few seconds; this difference was statistically reliable. Several levels of interpretation of the behaviour are possible: hiding the playface may have functioned as a form of deception, a meta-communication, or merely an attempt to suppress the playface. However, by any of these interpretations, the behaviour implies that the gorilla is aware of her spontaneous facial expressions and the consequences they entail. Among the great apes, manual suppression of a facial expression has previously been reported once for chimpanzees but never for gorillas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-457
Number of pages7
JournalPrimates
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1993

Keywords

  • GORILLAS
  • DECEPTION
  • FACIAL EXPRESSION
  • NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION
  • GESTURES
  • SELF-AWARENESS
  • TACTICAL DECEPTION
  • PRIMATES

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Concealing facial evidence of mood: Perspective-taking in a captive gorilla?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this