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Primate Neuroethology$
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Michael Platt and Asif Ghazanfar

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195326598

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326598.001.0001

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Primate Social Cognition: Thirty Years After Premack and Woodruff

Primate Social Cognition: Thirty Years After Premack and Woodruff

(p.117) Chapter 7 Primate Social Cognition: Thirty Years After Premack and Woodruff
Primate Neuroethology

Alexandra G. Rosati

Laurie R. Santos

Brian Hare

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses two aspects of primate social cognition—understanding of intentional, goal-directed action, and understanding perceptions, knowledge, and beliefs—focusing on the newest comparative research since the last major reviews were written on the topic over a decade ago. It first reviews evidence suggesting that diverse species of primates understand the actions of others in terms of goals and intentions, and furthermore can reason about some, but probably not all, kinds of psychological states. It then examines the hypothesis that primates show their most complex social skills in competitive contexts, and suggests that inquiry into other aspects of primate social life, such as cooperative interactions, may prove to be the next important step for experimental inquiries into primate social-cognitive skills. Finally, the chapter examines primate social cognition in a broader evolutionary context that may provide a better understanding of both primate and human cognitive skills.

Keywords:   primate social cognition, goal-direction action, understanding perceptions, social skills, social cognition

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