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Perception, Causation, and Objectivity$
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Johannes Roessler, Hemdat Lerman, and Naomi Eilan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692040

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692040.001.0001

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Social and Physical Reasoning in Human-reared Chimpanzees

Social and Physical Reasoning in Human-reared Chimpanzees

Preliminary Studies

Chapter:
(p.342) 19 Social and Physical Reasoning in Human-reared Chimpanzees
Source:
Perception, Causation, and Objectivity
Author(s):

Jennifer Vonk

Daniel J. Povinelli

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692040.003.0019

Some theorists have speculated that apes reared by humans may develop sophisticated cognitive abilities not present (or only weakly developed) in other apes. This idea has become known as the ‘enculturation hypothesis.' We report the results of four studies conducted with three human-reared juvenile chimpanzees to explore the feasibility of a large-scale, long-term project that could be conducted to examine the effects of early human cultural experience on chimpanzee cognitive development. Specifically, Studies 1 and 2 explored aspects of their social cognition related to their understanding of visual attention. Studies 3 and 4 examined their understanding of physical causality in two tool-using tasks. Their performances were similar to that of peer-reared chimpanzees previously tested using similar procedures. We conclude that such studies should be pursued further to explore plasticity in the cognitive-developmental systems of humans and apes.

Keywords:   enculturation, causality, chimpanzees, cognitive development

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