[Paleopsych] animals and pain

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Wed Mar 9 14:41:32 UTC 2005

I have known some humans who would fail these tests :-)

Steve Hovland

-----Original Message-----
From:	K.E. [SMTP:guavaberry at earthlink.net]
Sent:	Tuesday, March 08, 2005 7:09 PM
To:	The new improved paleopsych list
Subject:	Re: [Paleopsych] animals and pain

then on another note:

just how stupid are these people? - do we really need
to spend money on tests like these ?

Is this the fate of all people who have a total
disconnect from their oral tradition?

Aren't there stories from the ages that tell
how smart the monkey is?

what the f*-k


    From: "Ian Pitchford" <ian.pitchford at scientist.com>
Subject: Rhesus monkeys can assess the visual perspective of others when 
competing for food

  Public release date: 7-Mar-2005
[ Print Article | E-mail Article | Close Window ]

Contact: Heidi Hardman
hhardman at cell.com
Cell Press

Rhesus monkeys can assess the visual perspective of others when competing 
for food

Researchers Jonathan Flombaum and Dr. Laurie Santos, both from Yale 
University, have found that rhesus monkeys consider whether a competitor 
can or cannot see them when trying to steal food.

Working with semi-free-ranging rhesus monkeys on the island of Cayo 
Santiago in Puerto Rico, Flombaum and Santos set up a food competition 
game: Lone monkeys were approached by two human "competitors." Each 
competitor had a grape affixed to a platform by his feet. In each 
experiment, one of the competitors could see the monkey in front of them, 
but the other could not. For example, in Experiment 1, one of the 
competitors stood with his back to the monkey subject, while the other 
stood facing the subject. Monkeys in this experiment spontaneously chose to 
approach and steal a grape from only the competitor with his back toward 
the monkey. In five more experiments, the monkeys revealed similar 
preferences for an experimenter who could not see them, rather than one who 
could. Most notably, they reliably stole food from a competitor with only 
his eyes averted, rather than one facing perfectly forward, as well as an 
experimenter with a piece of cardboard over his eyes rather than one with 
cardboard over his mouth. Together, these results reveal not only that 
rhesus monkeys prefer to steal food from a competitor who cannot see them, 
but also that they know exactly how blocking or averting one's eyes can 
render one unable to see. Thus, even without any training, these monkeys 
were able to accurately consider the visual perspective of others when 
deciding from whom to steal.

In previous studies, rhesus monkeys (and other primates) were thought to do 
no more than merely follow the gaze of others. Primates have typically 
failed in other, noncompetitive experiments that require surmising what 
other individuals know or see from where they are looking. In one famous 
case, for example, rhesus monkeys were unable to find food under a hidden 
location when the human experimenter who hid the food preferentially looked 
at the hidden location. These results suggest that competition-like 
situations may bring out the primates' abilities more than experiments that 
don't involve competition.

These latest results, however, suggest that rhesus monkeys can do much more 
than just follow the gaze of others; they can also deduce what others see 
and know, based only on their perception of where others are looking. These 
data potentially push back the time during which our own abilities to "read 
the minds of others" must have evolved. Moreover, they suggest strongly a 
reason why these abilities may have evolved in the first place, namely for 
competitive interactions with others. Finally, these results lay the 
groundwork for investigating the neural basis for this kind of social 
reasoning in a readily available laboratory animal - an urgent endeavor for 
developing a better neural understanding of diseases such as autism, in 
which this kind of social reasoning appears impaired.

Jonathan I. Flombaum and Laurie R. Santos: "Rhesus Monkeys Attribute 
Perceptions to Others"

The other members of the research team include Jonathan I. Flombaum and 
Laurie R. Santos from Yale University. This research was supported by a 
National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship to J.I.F. and the 
Yale University Moore Fund grant to L.R.S. The Cayo Santiago Field Station 
was supported by the National Institutes of Health (National Center for 
Research Resources grant CM-5-P40RR003640-13 award to the Caribbean Primate 
Research Center) and the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus.

Publishing in Current Biology, Volume 15, Number 5, March 8, 2005, pages 
447-452. http://www.current-biology.com


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