Research of Comparative Cognition on Theory of Mind
2004, 12 (6):
The comparative research on non-human primates’ theory of mind, which contributes a lot to our understanding of the origin and essentials of theory of mind, plays an important role in the area of comparative cognition. This review mainly concerns the related field observation and experimental research, including non-human primates’ understanding of visual perception, intention and goal, desire and belief. Controversy exists in experimental design, results and interpretation for the results, for example, the validity of measuring non-human primates’ theory of mind, the difference between intra- and inter- species understanding of non-human primates, the mechanism behind the non-human primates’ understanding of intention. These controversial results and argument may be due to specific theoretical hypotheses, tasks and designs. Hence, problems such as redefining the conception of non-human primates’ theory of mind, designing appropriate experiments and combining the influence of cultural difference and social ecology were to be solved.
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