Social knowledge in primates

Josep Call*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Social knowledge emanates from psychological tradition and it has focused its attention on the individual as a unit of analysis rather than the group. This article focuses on the individual's knowledge about the psychological states of other individuals that govern their behaviour. David Premack and GuyWoodruff's seminal paper on whether the chimpanzee has a theory of mind sets the stage for this line of research by asking the question of whether chimpanzees attribute intentions to others in problem solving situations. Since then this orientation has extended its scope and included other psychological states such as perceptions, desires, knowledge, or beliefs. In the social world, both types of social knowledge are important. The article's focus is on theory-of-mind research or mindreading, or mental state attribution.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191743658
ISBN (Print)9780198568308
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2012


  • Behaviour
  • Chimpanzee
  • David Premack
  • Guy Woodruff
  • Individual
  • Mind
  • Mindreading
  • Problem solving
  • Social knowledge
  • Theory


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