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Folk Physics for ApesThe Chimpanzee's theory of how the world works$
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Daniel Povinelli

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198572190

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198572190.001.0001

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The rope, hook, touching-stick, and related problems: the question of physical connection

The rope, hook, touching-stick, and related problems: the question of physical connection

Chapter:
(p.206) Chapter 9 THE ROPE, HOOK, TOUCHING-STICK, AND RELATED PROBLEMS: THE QUESTION OF PHYSICAL CONNECTION
Source:
Folk Physics for Apes
Author(s):

Daniel J. Povinelli

James E. Reaux

Laura A. Teall

Steve Giambrone

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198572190.003.0009

This chapter tests Köhler's (1927) claim that the chimpanzee has no explicit notion of physical connection, but merely sees contact to a greater or lesser degree. In order to explore apes' ability to conceive of their solutions in terms of physical connection, researchers examined their reactions to a rope-and-banana problem, a hook retrieval problem, a touching-stick problem, and two problems that involved tools or substrates whose critical components were shown to be perceptually, but not physically, connected. The results of the experiments provide converging and fairly persuasive evidence that chimpanzees have a quite different appreciation of ‘connection’ than humans do. Indeed, the data provide strong support for at least some aspects of the Köhlerian view that chimpanzees do not have a notion of connection any deeper than mere contact.

Keywords:   Kohler, physical connection, contact

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