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:1/18/2016)... JOSE, Calif. , Jan. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... security software that simplifies the use and access ... technology and go-to-market partnership with American Cyber.  ... Cyber brings extensive experience leading transformational C4ISR and ... implementing and integrating the latest proven technology solutions," ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... DUBLIN , January 13, 2016 ... has announced the addition of the  ... - Estimation & Forecast (2015-2020)" ... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/7h6hnn/india_biometrics ) has announced the ... & Identification Market - Estimation & ...
(Date:1/8/2016)... Kingdom , Jan. 8, 2016   Bruin Biometrics, ... today announced the closing of a $9 million financing. The ... the financing will be used to accelerate the commercialization of ... early-stage pressure ulcers. United Kingdom ... Mark approval. The device,s introduction has been met with enthusiasm ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016  The Maryland House of ... has announced that University of Maryland School of Medicine ... and University of Maryland Medical System President and CEO ... "Speaker,s Medallion," the highest honor given to the public ... Dean Reece and Mr. Chrencik for ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... -- IsoRay, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ISR), a medical technology company ... for the treatment of prostate, brain, lung, head and ... for the second quarter and six months of fiscal ... --> --> Revenue was $1.19 ... ended December 31, 2015, a 12% increase compared to ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... attend the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) Rocky Mountain Chapter 21st Annual ... is expecting to fill more than 100 tables for its annual event, which ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... now available on Microsoft Azure. On Azure, Arvados provides capabilities for managing and ... clear demand for Microsoft Azure from major institutions collecting and analyzing genomic data,” ...
Breaking Biology Technology: