You are here: Home Publications Imitation recognition in great apes

Imitation recognition in great apes

Haun, D. B. M., & Call, J. (2008). Imitation recognition in great apes. Current Biology, 18(7), 288-290. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.02.031.
Human infants imitate not only to acquire skill, but also as a fundamental part of social interaction [1] , [2] and [3] . They recognise when they are being imitated by showing increased visual attention to imitators (implicit recognition) and by engaging in so-called testing behaviours (explicit recognition). Implicit recognition affords the ability to recognize structural and temporal contingencies between actions across agents, whereas explicit recognition additionally affords the ability to understand the directional impact of one's own actions on others' actions [1] , [2] and [3] . Imitation recognition is thought to foster understanding of social causality, intentionality in others and the formation of a concept of self as different from other [3] , [4] and [5] . Pigtailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina) implicitly recognize being imitated [6], but unlike chimpanzees [7], they show no sign of explicit imitation recognition. We investigated imitation recognition in 11 individuals from the four species of non-human great apes. We replicated results previously found with a chimpanzee [7] and, critically, have extended them to the other great ape species. Our results show a general prevalence of imitation recognition in all great apes and thereby demonstrate important differences between great apes and monkeys in their understanding of contingent social interactions.
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn