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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 15;108(7):3077-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1000469108. Epub 2011 Jan 31.

Chimpanzees know that others make inferences.

Author information

  • 1Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany. martin_schmelz@eva.mpg.de

Abstract

If chimpanzees are faced with two opaque boards on a table, in the context of searching for a single piece of food, they do not choose the board lying flat (because if food was under there it would not be lying flat) but, rather, they choose the slanted one- presumably inferring that some unperceived food underneath is causing the slant. Here we demonstrate that chimpanzees know that other chimpanzees in the same situation will make a similar inference. In a back-and-forth foraging game, when their competitor had chosen before them, chimpanzees tended to avoid the slanted board on the assumption that the competitor had already chosen it. Chimpanzees can determine the inferences that a conspecific is likely to make and then adjust their competitive strategies accordingly.

PMID:
21282649
PMCID:
PMC3041140
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1000469108
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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