Short Communication

Animal Cognition

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 175-178

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Chimpanzees do not take into account what others can hear in a competitive situation

  • Juliane BräuerAffiliated withMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Email author 
  • , Josep CallAffiliated withMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
  • , Michael TomaselloAffiliated withMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology


Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) know what others can and cannot see in a competitive situation. Does this reflect a general understanding the perceptions of others? In a study by Hare et al. (2000) pairs of chimpanzees competed over two pieces of food. Subordinate individuals preferred to approach food that was behind a barrier that the dominant could not see, suggesting that chimpanzees can take the visual perspective of others. We extended this paradigm to the auditory modality to investigate whether chimpanzees are sensitive to whether a competitor can hear food rewards being hidden. Results suggested that the chimpanzees did not take what the competitor had heard into account, despite being able to locate the hiding place themselves by the noise.


Social cognition Food competition Perspective taking