Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cognitive Strategy Shared By Human Infants And Great-ape Kin

Date:
September 10, 2006
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
In a comparative study that investigates ways in which our cognitive skills and characteristics as humans have been shaped by our primate ancestry, researchers report new findings showing that human infants display the same preferences as all other great apes in their strategies for remembering where things are, but that these preferences shift as humans develop.

In a comparative study that investigates ways in which our cognitive skills and characteristics as humans have been shaped by our primate ancestry, researchers report new findings showing that human infants display the same preferences as all other great apes in their strategies for remembering where things are, but that these preferences shift as humans develop.

This change in cognitive preference indicates a uniquely human developmental trajectory when compared to the cognitive development of other great apes, and it informs our general understanding of which aspects of our cognitive development have evolved within the human lineage. The findings are reported by Daniel Haun, Josep Call, Gabriele Janzen, and Stephen Levinson from the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology and Psycholinguistics and appear in the September 5th issue of Current Biology, published by Cell Press.

Little is known about the inherited primate "background" of skills that underlies human cognition. Yet it is possible to trace the evolution of human cognitive abilities and tendencies by contrasting them with the skills of our nearest cousins--not just chimpanzees, but all the extant great apes--and thereby identify what we are likely to have inherited from our common ancestor.

In their new work, the researchers compared humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans in terms of their strategies for remembering where things are hidden. The researchers first showed that all non-human great apes and 1-year-old human infants exhibit identical preferences. This suggests that the common ancestor of all great apes enacted a similar strategy preference in employing spatial memory. The researchers then went on to examine 3-year-old human children and found that they show the reverse strategy preference. The new findings suggest that continuity exists between our species and the other great apes in the strategies we employ for spatial memory, but that this continuity is masked as human development proceeds.

The researchers include Daniel B.M. Haun of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and the F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging in Nijmegen, The Netherlands and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany; Josep Call of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany; Gabriele Janzen of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and the F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging in Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Stephen C. Levinson of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

This work was supported by the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Cognitive Strategy Shared By Human Infants And Great-ape Kin." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060910143629.htm>.
Cell Press. (2006, September 10). Cognitive Strategy Shared By Human Infants And Great-ape Kin. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060910143629.htm
Cell Press. "Cognitive Strategy Shared By Human Infants And Great-ape Kin." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060910143629.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins