Concealing facial evidence of mood: Perspective-taking in a captive gorilla?
- Joanne E. TannerAffiliated withScottish Primate Research Group, Department of Psychology, University of St. Andrews
- , Richard W. ByrneAffiliated withScottish Primate Research Group, Department of Psychology, University of St. Andrews
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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.
Key WordsGorillas Deception Facial expression Nonverbal communication Gestures Self-awareness
- Concealing facial evidence of mood: Perspective-taking in a captive gorilla?
Volume 34, Issue 4 , pp 451-457
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- Facial expression
- Nonverbal communication