Self-recognition and abstraction abilities in the common chimpanzee studied with distorting mirrors.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Kitchen, A; Denton, D; Brent, L
Year of Publication: 1996
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Volume: 93
Issue: 14
Pagination: 7405-8
Date Published: 1996 Jul 9
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 0027-8424
Keywords: Animals, Exploratory Behavior, Face, Female, Form Perception, Habituation, Psychophysiologic, Motor Activity, Movement, Pan troglodytes, Perceptual Distortion, Thinking, Vision, Ocular

The reactions of chimpanzees to regular mirrors and the results of the standard Gallup mark test have been well documented. In addition to using the mark test to demonstrate self-recognition in a regular mirror, we exposed six female chimpanzees to mirrors that produced distorted or multiplied self-images. Their reactions to their self-images, in terms of mirror-guided self-referenced behaviors, indicated that correct assessment of the source of the mirror image was made by each subject in each of the mirrors. Recognition of a distorted self-image implies an ability for abstraction in the subjects in that the distortion must be rationalized before self-recognition occurs. The implications of these results in terms of illuminating the relative importance of feature and contingency of movement cues to self-recognition are discussed.

Alternate Journal: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.