Chimpanzees really know what others can see in a competitive situation
- 565 Downloads
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.
KeywordsSocial cognition Food competition Visual perspective taking
We thank Julia Riedel, Hagen Lehmann, and Katrin Schumann for helping with data collection, and Tanja Lindner and Josefine Kalbitz for coding. We also thank Nora Tippmann for the drawings. Finally, we are very grateful to Alexandra Rosati for checking the style of the paper.
- Bourne GH (1969) Anatomy, behavior and diseases of chimpanzees, vol 1. S. Karger, BaselGoogle Scholar
- Karin-D’Arcy M, Povinelli DJ (2002) Do chimpanzees know what each other see? A closer look. Int J Comp Psychol 15:21–54Google Scholar
- Liebal K, Pika S, Call J, Tomasello M (2004) To move or not to move: how apes alter the attentional state of others. Interact Stud 5:199–219Google Scholar
- Povinelli DJ, Eddy TJ (1996) What young chimpanzees know about seeing. Monogr Soc Res Child 61:1–152Google Scholar
- Povinelli DJ, Reaux JE, Bierschwale DT, Allain AD, Simon BB (1997) Exploitation of pointing as a referential gesture in young children, but not adolescent chimpanzees. Cogn Dev 12:327–365Google Scholar
- Rowell T (1999) The myth of peculiar primates. In: Box HO, Gibson KR (eds) Symposia of the zoological society of London; mammalian social learning: comparative and ecological perspectives. Cambridge University press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar