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Anim Cogn. 2002 Jun;5(2):107-14.

An infant chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) follows human gaze.

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Department of Psychology, School of Letters, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8601, Japan.

Erratum in

  • Anim Cogn 2002 Sep;5(3):191.


The ability of non-human primates to follow the gaze of other individuals has recently received much attention in comparative cognition. The aim of the present study was to investigate the emergence of this ability in a chimpanzee infant. The infant was trained to look at one of two objects, which an experimenter indicated by one of four different cue conditions: (1) tapping on the target object with a finger; (2) pointing to the target object with a finger; (3) gazing at the target object with head orientation; or (4) glancing at the target object without head orientation. The subject was given food rewards independently of its responses under the first three conditions, so that its responses to the objects were not influenced by the rewards. The glancing condition was tested occasionally, without any reinforcement. By the age of 13 months, the subject showed reliable following responses to the object that was indicated by the various cues, including glancing alone. Furthermore, additional tests clearly showed that the subject's performance was controlled by the "social" properties of the experimenter-given cues but not by the non-social, local-enhancing peripheral properties.

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