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Bottlenose Dolphins' (Tursiops truncatus) Theory of Mind as Demonstrated by Responses to their Trainers' Attentional States

By Masaki Tomonaga, Yuka Uwano

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Category Journal Articles
Abstract

The present study examined the ability of dolphins to follow the gestural signs presented by humantrainers in various attentional states in order to understand the social cognition of dolphins. Thehuman trainers enacted the gestural signs by orienting their bodies and heads in different directions.If the dolphins were attending to the attentional state of the human trainers, their performances wouldbe affected by the orientation of the head only. Results showed, however, that the dolphins’ behaviorswere controlled by the orientation of the trainers’ bodies rather than that of their heads. Twoadditional tests further supported the minimal impact of head orientation on responses to humangestural signs. The present results might be influenced by the current experimental setting, thus weneed further efforts to accumulate empirical evidence on social cognition in dolphins.

Submitter

Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2010
Publication Title International Journal of Comparative Psychology
Volume 23
Issue 3
Pages 386-400
Publisher eScholarship
Location of Publication California
URL http://escholarship.org/uc/item/2dd258ps
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal roles
  2. Cognition
  3. Communication
  4. Conditioning
  5. Dolphins
  6. Intelligence
  7. Languages
  8. Learning
  9. Mammals
  10. vocalizations