Navigation Links
Man's best friend lends insight into human evolution

Flexibly drawing inferences about the intentions of other individuals in order to cooperate in complex tasks is a basic part of everyday life that we humans take for granted. But, according to evolutionary psychologist Brian Hare at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, this ability is present in other species as well.

As Hare discusses in the April issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, chimpanzees utilize social cues like eye gaze and face orientation to monitor others' behavior or infer motives of other subordinate or dominant individuals, or even deceive them, when competing for food. But it turns out that chimps are not very good at drawing inferences about others' mental states in cooperative situations ?such as when an experimenter (or another chimp) helpfully points to hidden food. This is a skill that humans already display in infancy, and according to Hare it seems to have evolved since the human lineage split from that of chimps a few million years ago.

For Hare, who has worked with a number of different animal species, to understand the "unique" human ability to use social cues cooperatively we should look not just at our closest animal relatives, but also at our best animal friends. While chimps may fail to infer others' mental states when cooperating, domestic dogs do quite well at such tasks. If you point to hidden food, dogs often grasp what you are trying to tell them. Puppies even do it without prior training, indicating that it is an innate ability, not simply one they acquire through contact with their owners.

What accounts for this piece of convergent evolution between humans and domestic dogs is nothing other than the process of domestication ?the breeding of dogs to tolerate, rather than fear, human company.

According to Hare, domesticated dogs' ability to solve social problems may have emerged once the brain systems mediating fear were altered ?and the same thing may have occurred in human e volution. Chimps, he says, are constrained in solving cooperative problems by their impulse to fear more dominant individuals and behave aggressively toward more subordinate ones.

"Taken together," Hare writes, "the results on chimpanzee cooperation and their use of social cues support the hypothesis that evolution in human social problem solving, much like that of dog social problem solving, occurred after changes in our species' social emotions lifted social constraints."


'"/>

Source:Association for Psychological Science


Related biology news :

1. Mans best friend: Study shows lonely seniors prefer playtime with pooch over human interaction
2. Mans earliest direct ancestors looked more apelike than previously believed
3. W.M. Keck Foundation funds study of friendly microbes
4. Plants respond similarly to signals from friends, enemies
5. Grass makes environmentally friendly biofuel
6. Plant pathologists evaluate eco-friendly alternatives to methyl bromide
7. FDA approves child-friendly AIDS medicine
8. Eco-friendly bug sucker
9. Surprising symbiosis: Glassy-winged sharpshooter eats with friends
10. Distinguishing friend from foe in the battle against cancer
11. Train your brain to hear your friends at a party
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:1/13/2016)... , January 13, 2016 ... published a new market report titled - Biometric Sensors Market ... Forecast, 2015 - 2023. According to the report, the global biometric ... is anticipated to reach US$1,625.8 mn by 2023, expanding ... In terms of volume, the biometric sensors market is ...
(Date:1/11/2016)...  higi, the leading retail and omni-channel community engagement ... and mobile, today announced it has closed funding ... --> --> ... higi,s health platform – its network of health ... expanding services and programs to retail partners and ...
(Date:1/7/2016)... 7, 2016 This BCC Research report studies ... technologies and devices, identifying newer markets and exploring the ... of biometric devices. Includes forecast from 2015 to 2020. ... markets and explore the expansion of the present application ... type of biometric technology, determine its current market size, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... MANASSAS, Va. , Feb. 5, 2016 ... organization, is poised to assist the medical and life ... concerns around Zika Virus infection.   CDC ... --> Zika virus is a single-stranded ... also includes the West Nile, Dengue and Chikungunya Viruses. ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... February 5, 2016 Amarantus BioScience ... company focused on developing products for Regenerative Medicine, Neurology ... Pediatric Disease Designation (RPDD) from the US Food and ... MANF. MANF was previously granted orphan drug designation (ODD) ... Amarantus BioScience Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: AMBS), ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... - New FDA action date of July 22, ... July 22, 2016   --> - ...   - Lifitegrast has the potential to be the ... signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in adults ... product approved in the U.S. in the past decade indicated for the treatment of ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Church, VA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... first-year cybersecurity conference presented by Bloomsburg University’s Digital Forensics Club, takes place ... PA. The two-day event features 20+ speakers and activities such as workshops ...
Breaking Biology Technology: