Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Great apes distinguish true from false beliefs in an interactive helping task

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

David Buttelmann, Frances Buttelmann, Malinda Carpenter, Josep Call, Michael Tomasello

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Understanding the behavior of others in a wide variety of circumstances requires an understanding of their psychological states. Humans’ nearest primate relatives, the great apes, understand many psychological states of others, for example, perceptions, goals, and desires. However, so far there is little evidence that they possess the key marker of advanced human social cognition: an understanding of false beliefs. Here we demonstrate that in a nonverbal (implicit) false-belief test which is passed by human 1-year-old infants, great apes as a group, including chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), bonobos (Pan paniscus), and orangutans (Pongo abelii), distinguish between true and false beliefs in their helping behavior. Great apes thus may possess at least some basic understanding that an agent’s actions are based on her beliefs about reality. Hence, such understanding might not be the exclusive province of the human species.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0173793
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS One
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2017

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Differences in the ability of apes and children to instruct others using gestures

    Grosse, K., Call, J., Carpenter, M. & Tomasello, M., 2015, In : Language Learning and Development. 11, 4, p. 310-330

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Great apes infer others' goals based on context

    Buttelmann, D., Schütte, S., Carpenter, M., Call, J. & Tomasello, M., Nov 2012, In : Animal Cognition. 15, 6, p. 1037-1053 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Common knowledge that help is needed increases helping behavior in children

    Siposova, B., Grueneisen, S., Helming, K., Tomasello, M. & Carpenter, M., 28 Sep 2020, In : Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 201, 104973.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Do 7-year-old children understand social leverage?

    Sánchez-Amaro, A., Duguid, S., Call, J. & Tomasello, M., Nov 2020, In : Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 199, 104963.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Non-human primates use combined rules when deciding under ambiguity

    Romain, A., Broihanne, M-H., De Marco, A., Ngoubangoye, B., Call, J., Rebout, N. & Dufour, V., 25 Sep 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Joanna Louise Kershaw (Reviewer)

    18 Mar 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  2. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Catharine Penelope Cross (Member of editorial board)

    1 Sep 2018 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  3. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Reviewer)

    23 May 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  4. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Barbara Dritschel (Member of editorial board)

    May 2018 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  5. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Matt Carter (Reviewer)

    2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. Are in vitro and in silico approaches used appropriately for animal-based major depressive disorder research?

    Carvalho, C., Varela, S. A. M., Marques, T. A., Knight, A. & Vicente, L., 24 Jun 2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 6, 6 p., e0233954.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Artists on the edge of the world: an integrated approach to the study of Magdalenian engraved stone plaquettes from Jersey (Channel Islands)

    Bello, S. M., Blinkhorn, E., Needham, A., Bates, M., Duffy, S., Little, A., Pope, M., Scott, B., Shaw, A., Welch, M. D., Kinnaird, T., Millar, L., Robinson, R. & Conneller, C., 19 Aug 2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 8, 40 p., e0236875.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Drivers of the opioid crisis: An appraisal of financial conflicts of interest in clinical practice guideline panels at the peak of opioid prescribing

    Spithoff, S., Leece, P., Sullivan, F., Persaud, N., Belesiotis, P. & Steiner, L., 24 Jan 2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 1, 15 p., e0227045.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Passive acoustic methods for tracking the 3D movements of small cetaceans around marine structures

    Gillespie, D., Palmer, L., MacAulay, J., Sparling, C. & Hastie, G., 29 May 2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 5, 16 p., e0229058.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Potentially inappropriate prescriptions according to explicit and implicit criteria in patients with multimorbidity and polypharmacy. MULTIPAP: a cross-sectional study

    Lopez-Rodriguez, J. A., Rogero-Blanco, E., Aza-Pascual-Salcedo, M., Lopez-Verde, F., Pico-Soler, V., Leiva-Fernandez, F., Prados-Torres, J. D., Prados-Torres, A., Cura-González, I., MULTIPAP group & Azcoaga-Lorenzo, A., 12 Aug 2020, In : PLoS One. 15, 8, 20 p., e0237186.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 249378882

Top