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Great apes are able to tell when you're wrong

Posted on Friday, 7 April, 2017 | Comment icon 6 comments

Great apes can tell when you are about to make a mistake. Image Credit: GFDL 1.2 Ikiwaner
A new study has revealed that many primate species can pick up on when you are mistaken in your beliefs.
The research, which was conducted by scientists in Germany, found that apes such as orangutans, bonobos and chimpanzees were not only capable of identifying when someone else had made a mistake, but were also able to use this information to help that person out.

To determine this, a total of 34 great apes living at Leipzig Zoo in Germany were tested using a method that is more traditionally used to determine advanced social cognition in young children.

For each test, a researcher would place an object in one of two boxes while one of the apes watched. A second researcher would then come in and move the object to a different box.

When the first researcher later returned to retrieve the object from the wrong box, the team would observe how the ape reacted to the fact that they were about to make a mistake.

The findings indicated that the apes were able to identify the correct box and "were more likely to help the person find the object when he had a false belief about which box the object was in."

"This study shows for the first time that great apes can use an understanding of false beliefs to help others appropriately," said David Buttelmann of the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Source: CTV News | Comments (6)

Tags: Chimps, Apes

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by glorybebe on 6 April, 2017, 0:27
I really, really think humans must lose their arrogance and realize that animals are smarter and more aware of their world than humans are.  
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer on 7 April, 2017, 19:37
One question - Was the object yellow and shaped like a banana? Even my dog remembers where she saw a cat or squirrel last and goes there to see if the "critter" came back.  She won the Critter Chaser job in the last election.  She wants to go our numerous times a day to do her elected job.  Better than most politicians.
Comment icon #3 Posted by MJNYC on 7 April, 2017, 19:53
I totally agree with you, glorybebe. The ASPCA used to use this saying and I think it says it all:  "If you think they are dumb, then you aren't thinking."
Comment icon #4 Posted by Dark_Grey on 7 April, 2017, 20:01
I'm inclined to believe it's more subtle facial recognition than mind reading...think "mentalists"; they often fool people in to believing they have psychic powers when in fact they are just very, very good at reading body language and other subtleties. We humans can do it, primates can do it, I wonder what else evolved this ability? What other species require this ability?  
Comment icon #5 Posted by Alaric on 8 April, 2017, 1:17
We're just a Great Ape that created the Internet. We're so clever that we invented a way for other apes from from all around the world to tell us how wrong we are... but in the end we still act just like apes.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Hawkin on 8 April, 2017, 15:40

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