Academic journal article et Cetera

Books -- How Monkeys See the World: Inside the Mind of Another Species by Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth

Academic journal article et Cetera

Books -- How Monkeys See the World: Inside the Mind of Another Species by Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth

Article excerpt

Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth. How Monkeys See the World: Inside the Mind of Another Species. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990 (paperback edition, 1992).

Although monkeys are acutely sensitive to how other monkeys act, they do not know what they know, and are "unable to attribute mental states to others or to recognize that others' behavior is also caused by motives, beliefs and desires....[This inability] severely constrains the ability of monkeys to transmit information, deceive, or feel empathy with one another." (p. 312)

In other words, monkeys lack consciousness of abstracting.

University of Pennsylvania professors Cheney and Seyfarth first introduce us to vervet monkeys (adults weigh seven to ten pounds) and their social behavior as witnessed in their natural habitat at the foot of Kilimanjaro in southern Kenya. Then the authors address the difficult question of what the monkeys know.

Vervets, it turns out, have a remarkable amount of social know-how Do they understand who's related to whom? (Yes.) Do they remember who mistreated whom? (Yes, and sometimes they retaliate against a relative of the miscreant.) Can they recognize each other by voice? (Yes.) Are they more likely to learn things that can be modeled on their social knowledge? (Yes.)

Vervets also have a lot of know-how about predation. It's no wonder; seven out of ten vervets who survive their first year will later succumb to attack by leopards, eagles, pythons, or baboons. …

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