Great apes anticipate that other individuals will act according to false beliefs
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Humans operate with a "theory-of-mind" with which they understand that others’ actions are driven not by reality but by beliefs about reality, even when those beliefs are false. Although great apes share with humans many social-cognitive skills, they have repeatedly failed experimental tests of such false belief understanding. Using an anticipatory looking test (originally developed for human infants), we show that three species of great apes reliably look in anticipation of an agent acting on a location where he falsely believes an object to be, even though they themselves know that it is no longer there. These results suggest that great apes also operate—at least on an implicit level—with an understanding of false beliefs.
Krupenye , C N , Kano , F , Hirata , S , Call , J & Tomasello , M 2016 , ' Great apes anticipate that other individuals will act according to false beliefs ' Science , vol 354 , no. 6308 , pp. 110-114 . DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf8110
© 2016 the Authors. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at science.sciencemag.org / https://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaf8110
Financial support came from NSFGRFP DGE-1106401 (CK), MEXT K-CONNEX, JSPS KAKENHI 26885040, 16K21108 (FK), JSPS KAKENHI 26245069, 24000001 (SH), and ERC-Synergy grant 609819 (JC).