How do non-human primates represent others' awareness of where objects are hidden?
AffiliationSchool of Anthropology, University of Arizona
Cognitive Science Program, University of Arizona
Department of Psychology, University of Arizona
College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Arizona
Theory of mind
Violation of expectation
MetadataShow full item record
CitationHorschler, D. J., Santos, L. R., & MacLean, E. L. (2021). How do non-human primates represent others' awareness of where objects are hidden?. Cognition, 212, 104658.
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AbstractAlthough non-human primates (NHPs) generally appear to predict how knowledgeable agents use knowledge to guide their behavior, the cognitive mechanisms that enable this remain poorly understood. We assessed the conditions under which NHPs' representations of an agent's awareness break down. Free-ranging rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) watched as an agent observed a target object being hidden in one of two boxes. While the agent could no longer see the boxes, the box containing the object flipped open and the object either changed in size/shape (Experiment 1) or color (Experiment 2). Monkeys looked longer when the agent searched for the object incorrectly rather than correctly following the color change (a non-geometric manipulation), but not the size/shape change (a geometric manipulation). Even though the agent maintained knowledge of the object's location in both cases, monkeys no longer expected the agent to search correctly after it had been geometrically (but not non-geometrically) manipulated. Experiment 3 confirmed that monkeys were sensitive to the color manipulation used in Experiment 2, making it unlikely that a failure to perceive the color manipulation accounted for our findings. Our results show that NHPs do not always expect that knowledgeable agents will act on their knowledge to obtain their goals, consistent with heuristic-based accounts of how NHPs represent others' mental states. These findings also suggest that geometric changes that occur outside the agent's perceptual access may disrupt attribution of awareness more so than non-geometric changes. © 2021 Elsevier B.V.
Note12 month embargo; available online 24 March 2021
VersionFinal accepted manuscript
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