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Résumés du 27e colloque de la SFDP (Poitiers, 4-7 Novembre, 2014)
35

Playing hide and seek with primates: A comparative study of Theory of Mind

Aurore San‑Galli, Marie Devaine, Cinzia Trapanese, Shelly Masi, Sébastien Bouret and Jean Daunizeau

Abstract

The ability to anticipate how another individual will behave is a critical skill in the animal kingdom. Humans typically deal with this problem using their Theory of Mind (ToM), i.e. the ability to decipher beliefs and intentions of others. Although non-human primates (apes in particular) exhibit elaborate social behavior, there is no established consensus on whether this mirrors some form of sophisticated ToM. We suggest that ToM sophistication can be operationally defined in terms of the depth of recursive beliefs, as in "I think that you think that I think...". Importantly, mutual social interactions may call for highly recursive beliefs: not only do I think that you think, but I also think that you think that I think... This study aims at comparing how primate species (including humans) differ with respect to this form of ToM sophistication. The main novelty of our experimental approach is to estimate each primate’s ToM sophistication from its performance in repeated interactive games that are calibrated using information theoretic models of (artificial) recursive ToM. We first validated our model in human subjects and then tested 6 species of captive non-human primates (3 species of great apes: orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and 3 species of old-world monkeys: lion-tailed macaques, rhesus macaques and collared mangabeys) in an adaptation of the task used in the human study. Our paradigm consisted in a “hide and seek” game in which individuals played against a human opponent (a familiar zoo keeper). In each trial, the individual had to infer where food had been hidden by the experimenter opponent (either in his right or left hand). In fact, the location of the food was chosen by learning algorithms, some of which endowed with artificial ToM. Critically, we varied the sophistication of these algorithms, yielding three conditions, ranging from a control (a simple random biased sequence) to a mildly sophisticated ToM agent (1-ToM). The profile of primates’ performances against the different algorithms was then used to infer their ToM sophistication. Preliminary results show that the pattern of performance of nonhuman primates differ from those of humans. Although most nonhuman primates tended to win in the control condition, they lost against the 1-ToM agent, in contrast to the human group (that won). Surprisingly, comparing the performances between the non-human primates' species did not reveal any significant inter-species difference. Therefore, great apes did not perform better than monkeys in our task. Interestingly, variability in the performances actually seems more to rely on inter-individual differences rather than on inter-species differences. Moreover, in every species, at least one individual exhibited mild (but statistically significant) ToM sophistication. Taken together, these data indicate that the distribution of ToM sophistication within each of these non-human primate species is quite heterogeneous. Further analyses are in progress to identify predictive factors (e.g. familiarity with humans, age, motivation and frustration during the game) that could explain away inter-individual differences, thus eventually revealing (or not) inter‑species differences [Authors Aurore San‑Galli and Marie Devaine contributed equally to this work].

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Publication history

Présenté le 7/11/2014

References

Electronic reference

Aurore San‑Galli, Marie Devaine, Cinzia Trapanese, Shelly Masi, Sébastien Bouret and Jean Daunizeau, « Playing hide and seek with primates: A comparative study of Theory of Mind », Revue de primatologie [Online], 6 | 2015, document 35, Online since 31 March 2015, connection on 23 May 2017. URL : http://primatologie.revues.org/2182 ; DOI : 10.4000/primatologie.2182

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About the authors

Aurore San‑Galli

Motivation Brain and Behavior team, ICM, Hopital La Pitié Salpêtrière, 47 boulevard de l'Hopital 75013 Paris France et USM 0104 Éco-anthropologie et Ethnobiologie MNHN 43 rue Buffon 75 005 Paris, France
Author for correspondence:
sangalliaurore@gmail.com

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Marie Devaine

Motivation Brain and Behavior team, ICM, Hopital La Pitié Salpêtrière, 47 boulevard de l'Hopital 75013 Paris, France
Email :
marie.devaine@gmail.com

Cinzia Trapanese

USM 0104 Éco-anthropologie et Ethnobiologie MNHN 43 rue Buffon 75 005 Paris, France
Email :
cinzia.trapanese@gmail.com

Shelly Masi

USM 0104 Éco-anthropologie et Ethnobiologie, MNHN, 43 rue Buffon 75 005 Paris, France
Email :
masi@mnhn.fr

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Sébastien Bouret

Motivation Brain and Behavior team, ICM, Hopital La Pitié Salpêtrière, 47 boulevard de l'Hopital 75013 Paris, France
Email :
sebastien.bouret@icm-institute.org

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Jean Daunizeau

Motivation Brain and Behavior team, ICM, Hopital La Pitié Salpêtrière, 47 boulevard de l'Hopital, 75013 Paris, France
Email :
jean.daunizeau@gmail.com

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Copyright

Licence Creative Commons
Les contenus de la Revue de primatologie sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d’Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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