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Cognition. 2006 Oct;101(3):495-514. Epub 2006 Jan 17.

Chimpanzees deceive a human competitor by hiding.

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Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


There is little experimental evidence that any non-human species is capable of purposefully attempting to manipulate the psychological states of others deceptively (e.g., manipulating what another sees). We show here that chimpanzees, one of humans' two closest primate relatives, sometimes attempt to actively conceal things from others. Specifically, when competing with a human in three novel tests, eight chimpanzees, from their first trials, chose to approach a contested food item via a route hidden from the human's view (sometimes using a circuitous path to do so). These findings not only corroborate previous work showing that chimpanzees know what others can and cannot see, but also suggest that when competing for food chimpanzees are skillful at manipulating, to their own advantage, whether others can or cannot see them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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