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Criminal Intent and Predicting the Mental State of Others

Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2012/04/28/Primate_Social_Cognition

Dr. Dorothy Cheney, an expert on primate social behavior and communication, examines the human trait of predicting the mental state of others. Cheney uses the example of the Murdoch phone hacking incident as an example to illustrate criminal intent.

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Studies on both animals and humans have shown definitively that individuals who are able to establish strong social bonds experience better health and higher offspring survival. It seems likely that natural selection has also favored the cognitive abilities to monitor and manage social relationships. There is growing evidence that monkeys and other animals are adept at recognizing other individuals’ social relationships and dominance ranks. At the same time, there are also many fundamental differences between animal social cognition and the social cognition of humans.

Dr. Dorothy Cheney is an expert on primate social behavior, communication, cognition. In 1977, together with her husband and collaborator Robert Seyfarth, she began an 11 year field study of vervet monkeys in Kenya, which led to the publication of How Monkeys See the World. From 1992 through 2007 Dr. Cheney and Dr. Seyfarth studied baboons in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. In 2007, they published Baboon Metaphysics.

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