Abstract # 1181 Event # 555:

Scheduled for Friday, June 30, 2006 02:00 PM-04:20 PM: Session 70 (Bwindi) Symposium

Symposium: Primate Theory of Mind

B. Hare
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig 04103, Germany
     Primates are skilled at reading and even manipulating the behavior of conspecifics. However, it is only clear that humans, as children, develop the ability to solve such social problems by thinking about what other individuals are thinking about (e.g. as opposed to simply reacting to the behavior of others). As a result it has frequently been hypothesized that the ability to think about the perceptions desires and beliefs of others, or Theory of Mind, is unique to humans. In addition, it has often been proposed that human culture and language develop because of our species unique ability to “mind read”. But are Theory of Mind-like abilities unique to humans or has this conclusion been reached prematurely? Recent research has led to a number of startling new finds relevant to this question. Participants will highlight their latest findings, discuss the implications of their research for the evolution of primate and human evolution, while charting the future path for discovery that lays ahead.