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Distal communication by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): evidence for common ground?
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 20:32 authored by David LeavensDavid Leavens, Lisa A Reamer, Mary Catherine Mareno, Jamie L Russell, Daniel Wilson, Steven J Schapiro, William D Hopkins
van der Goot et al. (2014) proposed that distal, deictic communication indexed the appreciation of the psychological state of a common ground between a signaler and a receiver. In their study, great apes did not signal distally, which they construed as evidence for the human uniqueness of a sense of common ground. This study exposed 166 chimpanzees to food and an experimenter, at an angular displacement, to ask, “Do chimpanzees display distal communication?” Apes were categorized as (a) proximal or (b) distal signalers on each of four trials. The number of chimpanzees who communicated proximally did not statistically differ from the number who signaled distally. Therefore, contrary to the claim by van der Goot et al., apes do communicate distally.
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