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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2009 Feb;19(1):45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2009.03.002. Epub 2009 Apr 23.

Looking past the model species: diversity in gaze-following skills across primates.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.


Primates must navigate complex social landscapes in their daily lives: gathering information from and about others, competing with others for food and mates, and cooperating to obtain rewards as well. Gaze-following often provides important clues as to what others see, know, or will do; using information about social attention is thus crucial for primates to be competent social actors. However, the cognitive bases of the gaze-following behaviors that primates exhibit appear to vary widely across species. The ultimate challenge of such analyses will therefore be to understand why such different cognitive mechanisms have evolved across species.

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