- Oxford Library of Psychology
- Oxford Library of Psychology
- About the Editors
- Toward Bridging Gaps: Finding Commonality between Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology
- Why Behaviorism Isn't Satanism
- Confronting Language, Representation, and Belief: A Limited Defense of Mental Continuity
- Evolved Cognitive Adaptations
- Convergent Evolution of Cognition in Corvids, Apes and Other Animals
- Social Complexity and Intelligence
- Cephalopod Intelligence
- Cold-Blooded Cognition: Reptilian Cognitive Abilities
- Cetacean Cognitive Specializations
- Socio-Cognitive Specializations in Nonhuman Primates: Evidence from Gestural Communication
- The Evolution of Canine Cognition
- Episodic Memory and Planning
- Comparative Mental Time Travel: Is There a Cognitive Divide between Humans and Animals in Episodic Memory and Planning?
- Animal Models of Human Cognition
- Metacognition across Species
- Symbolic Communication in the Grey Parrot
- Communication in Nonhuman Primates
- Female Preference Functions Provide a Window into Cognition, the Evolution of Communication, and Speciation in Plant-Feeding Insects
- Apes and the Evolution of Language: Taking Stock of 40 Years of Research
- The Phylogeny and Ontogeny of Prosocial Behavior
- The Ontogeny and Phylogeny of Cooperation
- Culture and the Evolution of Human Sociality
- The Evolution of Morality: Which Aspects of Human Moral Concerns Are Shared With Nonhuman Primates?
- The Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology of Social Learning and Culture
- Cognitive Imitation: Insights into the Development and Evolution of Social Learning
- The Ecology and Evolution of Social Behavior and Cognition in Primates
- The Evolution of a Cooperative Social Mind
- Darwin, Tinbergen, and the Evolution of Comparative Cognition
- Comparative Evolutionary Psychology: A United Discipline for the Study of Evolved Traits
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter reviews primate cognitive abilities in physical, social, and communicative realms and asks (1) whether primates exhibit abilities that differ from those of other animals, and (2) what selective pressures primates face that may have led to the emergence of specific cognitive abilities. The authors focus on communication as the most likely realm for primate cognitive specialization and on the gestural communication of great apes as the modality in which primates exhibit the most advanced cognitive abilities. Findings from studies of natural communication systems of both wild and captive primates as well as studies involving communication with human experimenters are presented and discussed. Apes demonstrate flexibility, learning, and sensitivity to social cues in their gestural communication, but further studies are needed to determine how gestures are acquired and how they are perceived. Studies of comparative development of gestural communication and social cognition have the greatest potential to reveal the cognitive abilities used during gesturing, and they will help to determine whether those abilities are truly specializations for communication.
Erica A. Cartmill, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago.
Dario Maestripieri, Department of Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago, IL.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.