Abstract # 4535 Event # 17:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2013 09:35 AM-09:50 AM: Session 1 (San Geronimo Ballroom B) Symposium


CAN RHESUS MACAQUES READ MINDS?: WHAT THE CAYO SANTIAGO MACAQUES HAVE TAUGHT US ABOUT PRIMATE THEORY OF MIND

L. R. Santos
Yale University, Box 208205, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
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     The capacity to reason about the minds of others is an important development in human cognition. Over the last thirty years, primate researchers have examined whether other primates share this capacity. I will discuss recent work exploring how rhesus monkeys in the Cayo Santiago population have contributed to this new research. I will discuss work demonstrating that although this species can recognize what others see, hear, and know, macaques seem unable to reason about the false beliefs of others. I will first review previous finding showing that macaques successfully steal food from one of two human competitors based on what they see and know. I then review more recent work using a looking time measure to study what macaques know about others' beliefs. The logic of looking time is that macaques should look longer at events that violate their expectations. We observed that macaques look longer when a human who is knowledgable about an object's location searches for that object in an incorrect spot than when she searches in the correct spot. However, tested in this method macaques fail to make predictions when a person has a false belief. I'll then discuss what this performance mean for primate social cognition as well as the question of which theory of mind capacities are unique to humans.