- Nov 15, 2018
- Jan 15, 2020
- Aug 21, 2020
We will be able to understand dogs and other animals better if we learn to understand … people. And for a start we will answer a question: what makes people special, other than other animals? The answer to this question will help to understand that such special in our closest friends – dogs.
People are distinguished by ability to think that others think, and to understand thoughts and intentions of others.
Darwin seriously believed that changes in thinking of the person are a greatest change in the evolution course. And if to take the theory of natural selection for an axiom, there is a question: why such thinking was required to people?
The person needed to find the shelter, to get, store and process food. And still, certainly, to attract partners and to protect posterity. And how you think what of these problems was more difficult and important? Correct answer: social, that is involvement of the partner, protection of posterity, communication with relatives and ability to cooperate with them successfully to survive in the world where saber-toothed tigers, and the person – a being physically not really strong hung around. This feature made the person such what he is now.
Huge advantage of people consists that they are focused on social interaction. Let's make a small experiment: what do you see on video given below?
Though here just geometrical figures, vast majority of people cannot get rid of illusion that these geometrical figures interact among themselves! It is connected with the fact that social interaction is extremely important for the person as a biological being.
And to us the ability to think that other people think is inherent. These others have the desires and intentions, emotions and feelings, and we, in principle, understand that all these intentions, emotions and desires can differ from ours. And it, in fact – what people endure in themselves. How do we understand thoughts and intentions of others? Really indeed we read mind?
The matter is that all this "inner world" can be shown outside by means of fine details which we, sometimes unconsciously, can use as hints. Let's say you see that someone stared at a ceiling – most likely, you look there, it is curious that so interested other person. Or, for example, you participate in a conference and in a break approached to communicate to the person who was met earlier. You are awfully glad it to see, welcome and start a conversation as suddenly you notice that the interlocutor darted a glance at your badge. And you understand: there is that awkward moment when you are not recognized …
And here animals, you ask? It concerns animals too. When people began to study animals, it became clear that they also use social hints. For example, very simple experiment with a chimpanzee was made. The person looked up – and chimpanzees looked too up.
Whether so we can tell that the person – the only being who has an idea of thoughts and feelings of others? Or we are not lonely in this ability? Scientists asked this question – and, certainly, first of all they were interested in our immediate family – anthropoids. But when the monkey after the person looks up – she does it because "reads" your mind, or just on the previous experience learned: if someone looks up, so there is something interesting?
Scientists began to study children to understand, the ability to decipher social hints is how exactly formed. Experience was very simple: the experimenter looked at one of two "hiding places", and the child had to find the hidden toy. It became clear that at the age of 14 months children are capable to use the direction of a look of other person as the hint to guess, hid a toy where exactly. Approximately at the same age children begin "to read" gestures – for example, the instruction a hand.It is very important
as it is considered that exactly the ability "to read" mind of others allows us to study each other, including by imitation. This ability is also an empathy basis – abilities to sympathize that is very important for cooperation. And already on the basis of these abilities our culture, language, etc. is under construction
Generally, piece valuable. Therefore it would be extremely important to understand whether we are unique owners of such ability or there is also other "elite".
Scientists passed to a new round of experiments: chimpanzees offered the same problem, as to children: hid grapes under one of two opaque glasses, and then tried to prompt, where exactly there is a delicacy. Experiment was repeated many times, but gestures of the person were not of absolutely any value for monkeys: primacies just tried to guess the correct answer. And, certainly, often were mistaken. And even a large number of attempts changed nothing. Monkeys just did not understand that the person tries to help them, and did not pay attention to hints. Though at the same time perfectly solved problems on use of tools and testing of memory.
Whether it is possible to draw a conclusion that the person – the only being capable "to read mind" others? Further researches shook this confidence and proved that similar very self-confident conclusion is wrong. Also there is other being capable "to read our mind". And this being — a dog who exactly thanks to this quality became our best friend. But we will in more detail tell about it in the following articles.