Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 19–59 | Cite as

Belief Attribution in Animals: On How to Move Forward Conceptually and Empirically

Article

Abstract

There is considerable debate in comparative psychology and philosophy over whether nonhuman animals can attribute beliefs. The empirical studies that suggest that they can are shown to be inconclusive, and the main philosophical and empirical arguments that purport to show they cannot are shown to be invalid or weak. What is needed to move the debate and the field forward, it is argued, is a fundamentally new experimental protocol for testing belief attribution in animals, one capable of distinguishing genuine belief-attributing subjects from their perceptual-state attributing and behavior-reading counterparts. Such a protocol is outlined and defended. The rest, it is argued, is in the hands of experimentalists.

References

  1. Anderson, J., M. Myowa-Yamakoshi, and T. Matsuzawa. 2004. Contagious yawning inchimpanzees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 271: S468–S470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baars, B. 1988. A cognition theory of consciousness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Baillargeon, R., R. Scott, and Z. He. 2010. False-belief understanding in infants. Trends in Cognitive Science 14: 110–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bakin, J., K. Nakayama, and C. Gilbert. 2000. Visual responses in monkey areas V1 and V2 to three-dimensional surface configurations. The Journal of Neuroscience 20: 1290–1303.Google Scholar
  5. Bird, C.D., and N.J. Emery. 2009. Insightful problem solving and creative tool modification by captive nontool-using rooks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 106: 10370–10375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bennett, J. 1976. Linguistic behavior. Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
  7. Beran, M. 2010. Use of exclusion by a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) during speech perception and auditory–visual matching-to-sample. Behavioural Processes 83: 287–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beran, M., and D. Rumbaugh. 2001. “Constructive” enumeration by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) on a computerized task. Animal Cognition 2: 81–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bermúdez, J.L. 2003. Thinking without words. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bermúdez, J.L. 2009. Mindreading in the animal kingdom. In The philosophy of animal minds, ed. R. Lurz, 145–164. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Boysen, S., and V. Kuhlmeier. 2002. Representational capacities for pretense with scale models and photographs in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). In Pretending and imagination in animals and children, ed. R. Mitchell, 210–228. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Cacchione, T., and H. Krist. 2004. Recognizing impossible object relations: intuitions about support in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Journal of Comparative Psychology 118: 140–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Call, J., and M. Tomasello. 1999. A nonverbal false belief task: the performance of children and great apes. Child Development 70: 381–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Campbell, M., J. Carter, D. Proctor, M. Eisenberg, and F. de Waal. 2009. Computer animations stimulate contagious yawning in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276: 4255–4259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Carruthers, P. 1998. Language, though and consciousness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Carruthers, P. 2006. The architecture of the mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Carruthers, P. 2008. Meta-cognition in animals: a skeptical look. Mind & Language 23: 58–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Carruthers, P. 2009. Invertebrate concepts confront the generality constraint (and win). In The philosophy of animal minds, ed. R. Lurz, 89–107. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Chandler, M., A. Fritz, and S. Hala. 1989. Small-scale deceit: deception as a marker of two-, three-, and four-year-olds’ early theories of mind. Child Development 60: 1263–1277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cheney, D., and R. Seyfarth. 2007. Baboon metaphysics. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Clements, W., and J. Perner. 1994. Implicit understanding of belief. Cognitive Development 9: 377–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Csibra, G. 2008. Goal attribution to inanimate agents by 6.5-month-old infants. Cognition 107: 705–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Davidson, D. (1982/2001). Rational animals. Reprinted in Subjective, Intersubjective, and Objective (pp. 95–105). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Eckholm, E. (1985). Kanzi the chimp; a life in science. The New York Time. Available at: https:www.nytimes.com/1985/06/25/science/kanzi-the-chimp-a-life-in-science.html.
  25. Emery, N.J., and N.S. Clayton. 2008. How to build a scrub-jay that reads minds. In Origins of the social minds, ed. S. Itakura and K. Fujita, 65–98. Tokyo: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Flavell, J., Green F. & Flavell, E. (1986). Development of knowledge about the appearance-reality distinction. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 51 (1 serial no. 212).Google Scholar
  27. Flavell, J., F. Green, and E. Flavell. 1993. Children’s understanding of the stream of consciousness. Child Development 64: 387–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Flavell, J., F. Green, and E. Flavell. 1995. Young children’s knowledge about thinking. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 60: 1–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fodor, J. 1983. Modularity of mind. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  30. Fodor, J. (1990). Observation reconsidered. Reprinted in A Theory of Content and Other Essays (pp. 231–251). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  31. Fujita, K. 2006. Seeing what is not there: Illusion, completion, and spatiotemporal boundary formation in comparative perspective. In Comparative cognition, ed. E. Wasserman and T. Zentall, 29–52. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Frege, G. (1918/1977). Thoughts. Reprinted in Logical Investigations (Ed.) P. T. Geach (pp. 1–30). New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Gallistel, R. 1990. Organization of learning. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  34. Gallup, G. 1982. Self-awareness and the emergence of mind in primates. American Journal of Primatology 2: 237–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gergely, G., Z. Nadasdy, G. Csibra, and S. Biro. 1995. Taking the intentional stance at 12 months of age. Cognition 56: 165–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Griffin, D. 1992. Animal minds: Beyond cognition and consciousness. Chicago: University Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  37. Goldman, A. 2006. Simulating minds: The philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of mindreading. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Gopnik, A. 2009. The philosophical baby. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.Google Scholar
  39. Gopnik, A., and P. Graf. 1988. Knowing how you know: young children’s ability to identify and remember the sources of their beliefs. Child Development 59: 1366–1371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hala, S., M. Chandler, and A. Frtiz. 1991. Fledgling theories of mind: deception as a marker of three-year-olds’ understanding of false belief. Child Development 62: 83–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hare, B. 2001. Can competitive paradigms increase the validity of experiments on primate social cognition? Animal Cognition 4: 269–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hare, B., J. Call, B. Agnetta, and M. Tomasello. 2000. Chimpanzees know what conspecifics do and do not see. Animal Behavior 59: 771–785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hare, B., J. Call, and M. Tomasello. 2001. Do chimpanzees know what conspecifics know? Animal Behaviour 61: 139–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Harman, G. 1978. Studying the chimpanzee’s theory of mind. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4: 576–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Heider, F., and M. Simmel. 1944. An experimental study of apparent behavior. The American Journal of Psychology 57: 243–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Heinrich, B. 1995. An experimental investigation of insight in common ravens (Corvus corax). Auk 112: 994–1003.Google Scholar
  47. Heinrich, B., and B. Bugnyar. 2005. Testing problem solving in ravens: string-pulling to reach food. Ethology 111: 962–976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Heyes, C. 1998. Theory of mind in nonhuman primates. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21: 101–148.Google Scholar
  49. Honderich, T. 1995. The Oxford companion to philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Hopkins, W., D. Washburn, and C. Hyatt. 1996. Video-task acquisition in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): a comparative analysis. Primates 37: 197–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Humphrey, N. 1976. The social function of intellect. In Growing points in ethology, ed. P. Bateson and R. Hinde, 303–318. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Hurley, S., and M. Nudds. 2006. Rational animals? Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Kaminski, J., J. Call, and M. Tomasello. 2008. Chimpanzees know what others know, but not what they believe. Cognition 109: 224–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kanizsa, G. 1979. Organization in vision. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  55. Köhler, W. 1927. The mentality of apes. New York: Harcourt Brace.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Krachun, C., J. Call, and M. Tomasello. 2009. Can chimpanzees discriminate appearances from reality? Cognition 112: 435–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Krachun, C., M. Carpenter, J. Call, and M. Tomasello. 2008. A competitive nonverbal false belief task for children and apes. Developmental Science 12: 521–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Kuhlmeier, V., K. Wynn, and P. Bloom. 2003. Attribution of dispositional states by 12- month-old. Psychological Science 14: 402–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Lewis, D. 1988. Desire as belief. Mind 97: 323–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Lurz, R. 2007. In defense of wordless thoughts about thoughts. Mind & Language 22: 270–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Lurz, R. 2009. If chimpanzees are mindreaders, could behavioral science tell? Toward a solution to the logical problem. Philosophical Psychology 22: 305–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Lurz, R. (forthcoming). Mindreading animals. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  63. Malcolm, N. (1977). Thoughtless brutes. Reprinted in Thought and Knowledge. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Markman, E. 1979. Realizing that you don’t understand: elementary school children’s awareness of inconsistencies. Child Development 50: 643–655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Menzel, E., E.S. Savage-Rumbaugh, and J. Lawson. 1985. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) spatial problem solving with the use of mirrors and televised equivalents of mirrors. Journal of Comparative Psychology 99: 211–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Millikan, R. 2006. Styles of rationality. In Rational animals? ed. S. Hurely and M. Nudds, 117–126. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Morris, A. 2000. Development of logical reasoning: children’s ability to verbally explain the nature of the distinction between logical and nonlogical forms of argument. Developmental Psychology 36: 741–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Moshman, D. 2004. From inference to reasoning: the construction of rationality. Thinking and Reasoning 10: 221–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Moshman, D., and B. Franks. 1986. Development of the concept of inferential validity. Child Development 57: 153–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Nichols, S., and S. Stich. 2003. Mindreading: An integrated account of pretence, self-awareness, and understanding of other minds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  71. O’Connell, S., and R. Dunbar. 2003. A test comprehension for false belief in chimpanzees. Evolution and Cognition 9: 131–140.Google Scholar
  72. O’ Neill, D., and A. Gopnick. 1991. Young children’s ability to identify the sources of their beliefs. Developmental Psychology 27: 390–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Onishi, K.H., and R. Baillargeon. 2005. Do 15-month-old infants understand false beliefs? Science 308: 255–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Paukner, A., and J. Anderson. 2005. Video-induced yawning in stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides). Biological Letters 2: 36–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Penn, D.C., and D. Povinelli. 2007. On the lack of evidence that non-human animals possess anything remotely resembling a ‘theory of mind. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 362: 731–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Pepperberg, I. 2004. Insightful string-pulling in Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) is affected by vocal competence. Animal Cognition 7: 263–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Pillow, B. 1999. Children’s understanding of inferential knowledge. The Journal of Genetic Psychology 160: 419–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Pillow, B. 2002. Children’s and adult’s evaluation of certainty of deductive inference, inductive inference, and guesses. Child Development 73: 779–792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Poss, S., and P. Rochat. 2003. Referential understanding of videos in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), and children (Homo sapiens). Journal of Comparative Psychology 117: 420–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Povinelli, D., and J. Vonk. 2006. We don’t need a microscope to explore the chimpanzee’s mind. In Rational animals, ed. S. Hurley and M. Nudds, 385–412. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  81. Premack, D., and A. Premack. 1997. Infants attribute value to the goal-directed actions of self-propelled objects. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 6: 848–856.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Premack, D., and G. Woodruff. 1978. Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? The Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1: 515–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Price, H. 1989. Defending desire-as-belief. Mind 98: 119–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Putnam, H. 1992. Renewing philosophy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  85. Quine, W.V.O. 1960. Word and object. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  86. Santos, L., J. Flombaum, and P. Webb. 2007. The evolution of human mindreading: How nonhuman primates can inform social cognitive neuroscience. In Evolutionary cognitive neuroscience, ed. S.M. Platek, J.P. Keenan, and T.K. Shackelford, 433–456. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  87. Santos, L., A. Nissen, and J. Ferrugia. 2006. Rhesus monkeys, Macaca mulatta, know what others can and cannot hear. Animal Behavior 71: 1175–1181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Sapp, F., L. Kang, and M. Darwin. 2000. Three-year-olds’ difficulty with appearance-reality distinction: is it real or apparent? Developmental Psychology 36: 547–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Sato, A., S. Kanazawa, and K. Fujita. 1997. Perception of objects unity in chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes). Japanese Psychological Research 39: 191–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Sekuler, A., and S. Palmer. 1992. Perception of partly occluded objects: a microgenetic analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology 121: 95–111.Google Scholar
  91. Sellars, W. 1975. Lecture II: Minds. In Action, knowledge, and reality: Critical studies in honor of Wilfrid Sellars, ed. H.-N. Castaneda. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.Google Scholar
  92. Shettleworth, S. 1998. Cognition, evolution, and behavior. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  93. Slocombe, K., T. Kaller, J. Call, and K. Zuberbühler. 2010. Chimpanzees extract social information from agonistic screams. PLoS ONE 5: e11473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Smith, P. 1982. On animal beliefs. Southern Journal of Philosophy 20: 503–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Song, H., and R. Baillargeon. 2008. Infants’ reasoning about others’ false perceptions. Developmental Psychology 44: 1789–1795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Surian, L., S. Caldi, and D. Sperber. 2007. Attribution of beliefs by 13-month-old infants. Psychological Science 18: 580–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Tetzlaff, M., and G. Rey. 2009. Systematicity and intentional realism in honeybee navigation. In Philosophy of animal minds, ed. R. Lurz, 72–88. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  98. Thau, M. 2002. Consciousness and cognition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  99. Tschudin, A. 2006. Belief attribution tasks with dolphins: What social minds can reveal about animal rationality. In Rational animals, ed. S. Hurley and M. Nudds, 413–436. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  100. Tye, M. 1997. The problem of simple minds: is there anything it is like to be a honey bee? Philosophical Studies 88: 289–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Uller, C. 2004. Disposition to recognize goals in infant chimpanzees. Animal Cognition 7: 154–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Varley, R. 2001. Severe impairment in grammar does not preclude theory of mind. Neurocase 7: 489–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Wakita, M., M. Shibasaki, T. Ishizuka, J. Schnackenberg, M. Fujiawara, and N. Masataka. 2010. Measurement of neuronal activity in a macaque monkey in response to animated images using near-infrared spectroscopy. Behavioral Neuroscience 4: 1–8.Google Scholar
  104. Wimmer, H., and J. Perner. 1983. Beliefs about beliefs: representation and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children’s understanding of deception. Cognition 13: 103–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Weigelt, S., W. Singer, and L. Muckli. 2007. Separate cortical stages in amodal completion revealed by functional magnetic resonance adaptation. BMC Neuroscience 8: 8–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Weintraub, R. 2007. Desire as belief, Lewis notwithstanding. Analysis 67: 116–122.Google Scholar
  107. Wellman, H. 1990. Young children’s theory of mind. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBrooklyn College, CUNYBrooklynUSA

Personalised recommendations