Primate Social Cognition: Thirty Years After Premack and Woodruff


Book Section

© 2010 by Michael L. Platt and Asif A. Ghazanfar. All rights reserved. This chapter addresses two aspects of primate social cognition-understanding of intentional, goal-directed action, and understanding perceptions, knowledge, and beliefs-focusing on the newest comparative research since the last major reviews were written on the topic over a decade ago. It first reviews evidence suggesting that diverse species of primates understand the actions of others in terms of goals and intentions, and furthermore can reason about some, but probably not all, kinds of psychological states. It then examines the hypothesis that primates show their most complex social skills in competitive contexts, and suggests that inquiry into other aspects of primate social life, such as cooperative interactions, may prove to be the next important step for experimental inquiries into primate social-cognitive skills. Finally, the chapter examines primate social cognition in a broader evolutionary context that may provide a better understanding of both primate and human cognitive skills.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rosati, AG; Santos, LR; Hare, B

Published Date

  • February 1, 2010

Book Title

  • Primate Neuroethology

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780195326598

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326598.003.0007

Citation Source

  • Scopus