The role of past interactions in great apes' communication about absent entities

Manuel Bohn, Josep Call, Michael Tomasello
2016 Journal of Comparative Psychology  
36 Recent evidence suggests that great apes can use the former location of an entity to 37 communicate about it. In this study we built on these findings to investigate the social 38 cognitive foundations of great apes' communicative abilities. We tested whether great 39 apes (n = 35) would adjust their requests for absent entities to previous interactions 40 they had with their interlocutor. We manipulated the apes' experience with respect to 41 the interlocutor's knowledge about the previous
more » ... ontent of the now empty location, as 42 well as their experience with the interlocutor's competence to provide additional food 43 items. We found that apes adjusted their requests to both of these aspects but failed to 44 integrate them with one another. These results demonstrate a surprising amount of 45 flexibility in great apes' communicative abilities while at the same time suggesting 46 some important limitations in their social communicative skills. 47
doi:10.1037/com0000042 pmid:27690504 fatcat:c4oz2dehrzcjjjz5kpd5ri57qa