Apes Understand the Thoughts, Beliefs and Desires of Others: New Research

Yes, you read that correctly…new research has demonstrated that it is not just humans that can ascertain the thoughts, beliefs and desires of others…chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans correctly anticipate others’ actions as well.  The findings of this exciting new study are best summed up by the famous primatologist Frans de Waal of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University:

Thanks to these results, the claim that only humans can ascertain the mental states of others “is starting to wobble,” he wrote in a commentary that accompanies the study.

“It’s a useful reminder that humans shouldn’t be so quick to put themselves on a pedestal.  Reading others’ minds is beyond anybody’s capacity.  All we can do — and what apes apparently do in similar ways — is read bodies.”

Read more about the study and watch two videos from the experiments here:

Apes prove it: You don’t have to be human to understand what someone else is thinking

LA Times



and here are some other takes on the research findings:

Great apes anticipate that other individuals will act according to false beliefs


Humans aren’t the only great apes that can ‘read minds’

Science Magazine

Scientists shocked by discovery about apes

Photo: news.nationalgeographic.com


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