Chimps, other apes take mind reading to humanlike level | Science News



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Chimps, other apes take mind reading to humanlike level

Eye-tracking data shows animals can anticipate a person’s thoughts, actions

2:10pm, October 6, 2016

MIND READER  A group of captive apes, including this orangutan, performed tests indicating that they can grasp when others are about to act based on false beliefs. This finding indicates that social thinking skills of apes and humans are more alike than previously thought.

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Apes understand what others believe to be true. What’s more, they realize that those beliefs can be wrong, researchers say. To make this discovery, researchers devised experiments involving a concealed, gorilla-suited person or a squirreled-away rock that had been moved from their original hiding places — something the apes knew, but a person looking for King Kong or the stone didn’t.

“Apes anticipated that an individual would search for an object where he last saw it, even though the apes knew that the object was no longer there,” says evolutionary anthropologist Christopher Krupenye.

If this first-of-its-kind finding holds up, it means that chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans can understand that others’ actions sometimes reflect mistaken assumptions about reality. Apes’ grasp of others’ false beliefs roughly equals that of human 2-year-olds tested in much the same way, say

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