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Curr. Biol.:猩猩也能判断同伴的知识

2012/01/05 来源:新华网
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先判断对方有什么样的知识背景,然后再有针对性地交谈,是人类智力的一个重要特点。而英国研究人员发现,猩猩也具有这种能力,在面对危险时会根据其他猩猩是否已经了解这个危险而发出相应信号。

先判断对方有什么样的知识背景,然后再有针对性地交谈,是人类智力的一个重要特点。而英国研究人员发现,猩猩也具有这种能力,在面对危险时会根据其他猩猩是否已经了解这个危险而发出相应信号。

英国圣安德鲁斯大学等机构的研究人员在新一期《当代生物学》杂志上报告说,他们在一群猩猩生活区域中的某些地方放置了非常逼真的塑料蛇,猩猩看见这些塑料蛇时一般都会被吓一跳,随后会对其他逛到这个位置的猩猩发出警示声。

有意思的是,这种警示声是“看猩下菜碟”。研究人员对整个猩猩群都进行了细致的监控,对于某个地方有塑料蛇这回事,能够分辨出哪些猩猩已经知道了这个知识,而哪些猩猩还不知情。观测显示,当已知道有塑料蛇存在的猩猩靠近该地点时,附近的猩猩很少发出警示,而当那些不知情的猩猩靠近该地点时,附近的猩猩通常都会发出警示。

研究人员凯瑟琳·克罗克福德说,这表明猩猩能够判断同伴的知识。它们并不根据同伴的体貌特征发出警示,而是根据同伴掌握相关信息的情况发出警示。这种能够想象“别人知道什么”的能力,是复杂交流乃至语言发展的重要基础,研究人员因此认为,猩猩的这种特点有助研究语言起源。


Wild Chimpanzees Inform Ignorant Group Members of Danger

Catherine Crockford, Roman M. Wittig, Roger Mundry, Klaus Zuberbühler

The ability to recognize other individuals' mental statestheir knowledge and beliefs, for exampleis a fundamental part of human cognition and may be unique to our species. Tests of a theory of mind in animals have yielded conflicting results . Some nonhuman primates can read others' intentions and know what others see, but they may not understand that, in others, perception can lead to knowledge . Using an alarm-call-based field experiment, we show that chimpanzees were more likely to alarm call in response to a snake in the presence of unaware group members than in the presence of aware group members, suggesting that they recognize knowledge and ignorance in others. We monitored the behavior of 33 individuals to a model viper placed on their projected travel path. Alarm calls were significantly more common if the caller was with group members who had either not seen the snake or had not been present when alarm calls were emitted. Other factors, such as own arousal, perceived risk, or risk to receivers, did not significantly explain the likelihood of calling, although they did affect the call rates. Our results suggest that chimpanzees monitor the information available to other chimpanzees and control vocal production to selectively inform them.

文献链接:http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(11)01336-4

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