STATES CHRONICLE – Scientists have recently noticed that the behavior of apes and their cognitive skills are similar to humans. We have all known so far that people are the most advanced creatures, being able to determine unstated ideas of others. This fact makes us unique, having a significant evolutionary importance. This particular skill can determine your way in society, being crucial to foresee other’s behavior and desires.
A meaningful interpretation of this ability is the willingness to reveal when someone believes a false statement. That is the absolute proof that entitles you as a mind reader, demonstrating that you can understand what is going on in someone else’s head.
One of the tests meant to prove this capability was conducted on children. A group of scientists has shown children how Sally, a doll, puts a block inside a box. After she leaves, Anne, another doll, comes in and takes the block, moving it somewhere else. When children were asked where Sally is going to search for the block, they said that she would look into the box, although they know the cube is not there.
This study was first conducted for 4-year-olds. After a period, researchers wanted to test 2-year-olds too, by using an eye-tracking device which would have indicated the place where children expect Sally to look first. It was incredible when they found out that even at the age of two, human beings can deduce what another person is thinking about.
After this study has registered impressive results, experts thought that they should use the same eye-tracking technology to test apes. Christopher Krupenye from Duke University and Fumihiro Kano from Kyoto University teamed together and chose about 40 orangutans, chimpanzees, and bonobos. They showed to this group of monkeys a video in which a person and a man dressed as King Kong were starring. The King Kong character hid a rock from the first person. By using an infrared eye-tracker, the scientists managed to discover if the apes were looking at the same place where the object was hidden and where they assumed the human would search first.
Researchers studied if the apes were able to anticipate what the human was thinking. The result was unexpectedly good. Almost all the apes from those three species were able to indicate where the human was about to search for the object, anticipating his action.
We already knew that we had a lot of features in common with apes, but until now, we weren’t aware that we share some important cognitive skills, too. Do you believe that there are other skills of this type that resemble with apes’ thinking?
Image courtesy of: wikipedia