Information on research topics
and research ressources at the LFE

Social Cognition

Mental perspective taking, i.e. understanding what others see, know, like or believe is part of the cognitive foundation of social interactions. In many accounts of species typical human social behavior these abilities are seen as the most important differences between humans and other great apes. However, most tasks rely heavily on language skills.

We use a set of non-linguistic tasks to compare these abilities across different great ape species and to track their ontogeny in multiple human cultures. Interestingly, human cultures vary in their social norms regarding whether and when one is allowed to make inferences about the mental states of others. We investigate the way in which social norms impact the ontogeny of mental perspective taking skills.

Prof. Dr. Daniel Haun
Director || Head of Department
Gretscher, H., Haun, D.B.M., Liebal, K., & Kaminski, J. (in press). Orangutans rely on orientation cues and egocentric rules when judging others’ perspectives in a competitive food task. Animal Behaviour.