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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2017 Jan 1;12(1):37-48. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsw159.

A neuroanatomical predictor of mirror self-recognition in chimpanzees.

Author information

1
Center for Behavioral Neuroscience.
2
Division of Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Atlanta, GA, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
4
Division of Neuropharmacology and Neurologic Diseases, Yerkes National Primate Research Center.
5
Center for Translational Social Neuroscience.
6
Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
7
The Language Research Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
8
Neuroscience Institute, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Abstract

The ability to recognize one's own reflection is shared by humans and only a few other species, including chimpanzees. However, this ability is highly variable across individual chimpanzees. In humans, self-recognition involves a distributed, right-lateralized network including frontal and parietal regions involved in the production and perception of action. The superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) is a system of white matter tracts linking these frontal and parietal regions. The current study measured mirror self-recognition (MSR) and SLF anatomy in 60 chimpanzees using diffusion tensor imaging. Successful self-recognition was associated with greater rightward asymmetry in the white matter of SLFII and SLFIII, and in SLFIII's gray matter terminations in Broca's area. We observed a visible progression of SLFIII's prefrontal extension in apes that show negative, ambiguous, and compelling evidence of MSR. Notably, SLFIII's terminations in Broca's area are not right-lateralized or particularly pronounced at the population level in chimpanzees, as they are in humans. Thus, chimpanzees with more human-like behavior show more human-like SLFIII connectivity. These results suggest that self-recognition may have co-emerged with adaptations to frontoparietal circuitry.

KEYWORDS:

brain evolution; chimpanzees; lateralization; self-recognition; superior longitudinal fasciculus

PMID:
27803287
PMCID:
PMC5390703
DOI:
10.1093/scan/nsw159
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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