How do we know what other people are thinking? This monkey study may offer clues [Mother Nature Network]

Photo of Rhesus macaque monkeys by Amada44
July 8, 2017

"To effectively communicate with one another, we have to understand that everyone has their own unique feelings, thoughts, desires and beliefs. Without our ability to intuit the emotions and mental states of others, there would be little room for cooperation or empathy or the many other qualities that make us human.

Scientists use the term theory of mind to describe our capacity to accurately understand one another during social interaction. We aren’t exactly sure where that ability to make sense of others’ mental state comes from, but a recent study involving rhesus macaques gives us some clues about how we understand each other, reports Rockefeller University.

The study was conducted by Winrich Freiwald and postdoctoral scholar Julia Sliwa at Freiwald’s Laboratory of Neural Systems at Rockefeller University. It was published in the journal Science in May..."

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