Non-Human Animals Have A Theory Of Mind

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“Describe some research studies which have addressed the issue of whether non-human animals have a “theory of mind ', and explain what these studies have allowed psychologists to conclude in answer to the issue.”

Chimpanzees are humans closest relatives and therefore are a good animal to study when attempting to assess whether non human animals have a theory of mind. This essay will attempt to first define what is meant by theory of mind, then will look at three studies and their approaches to researching theory of mind in non- human animals. It will briefly summarise, in turn, what each study attempted to achieve, how the study was conducted, and the subsequent finding of each study, specifically looking at areas of theory of mind which relate to chimps ' understanding of human problem solving and visual perception in both humans and other chimpanzees.

“Theory of mind” refers to the way in which people understand other humans as thinking beings. Hewson. C. (2015)A human can understand that another human has thoughts, wants and desires, for example, that are different to ones own. Hewson refers to this as a form of “mindreading”. Simply put, theory of mind refers to the way in which a person can understand that
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(Hewson. C, Ramsden. P, Turner. J. (2015).p.85) One such study involving chimpanzees was conducted by David Premack and Guy Woodruff (1978) cited in Hewson. C, Ramsden. P, Turner. J. (2015) p.86. This study involved showing chimpanzees videotaped footage of humans attempting to solve problems of varying difficulty “mostly involving inaccessible food”Hewson et al. (2015).p.86)( The chimpanzees were then shown two photographs per problem, one with the correct and one with an incorrect solution. Premack and Woodruff 's findings showed that the chimps would consistently select the image with the correct solution to the

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