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Great apes ‘KNOW when wrong decisions have been made’ in latest link to humans

Daily Express: ‘Understanding when someone else has a false belief is a mark of advanced social thought in people which, until now, apes were thought incapable of. Dr David Buttelmann from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig said: “Understanding the behaviour of others in a wide variety of circumstances requires an understanding of their psychological states. “Humans’ nearest primate relatives, the great apes, understand many psychological states of others, for example, perceptions, goals, and desires…

The study used a test developed for 18-month-old human infants, to evaluate understanding of others’ beliefs. The test, used on 34 great apes at Leipzig Zoo, involved a person placing an object in one of two boxes. Another person then took this object out of this box, put it into another box, and locked both boxes. … The apes knew how to unlock the boxes, and could decide which box to open for the first person during the test.

Like human infants, great apes were more likely to help the person find the object when he had a false belief about which box the object was in. This suggested great apes used their understanding of the person’s beliefs about reality to decide how to help him. Dr Buttleman said: “If supported by further research, the apparent difference between great ape and human social cognition would thus lie not in their basic capacity to “read” other minds, but elsewhere’. SOURCE…

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