Geometrical Gaze Following in Common Marmosets (Callithrix jacchus)

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Abstract

A series of experiments investigating the degree of gaze understanding in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) is reported. Results show that marmosets follow the gaze of a human experimenter readily and also use the gaze to locate food in a modified version of the object choice task if influences of chance probabilities and prepotent response tendencies are controlled for. In addition, this new version of the task allows the assessment of the accuracy of gaze following. Marmosets precisely extrapolate gaze direction, past distracting objects and from considerable distances, thereby meeting the criteria of so-called geometrical gaze following. The presence of this ability in common marmosets suggests that higher forms of gaze following might be more widely distributed among nonhuman primates than previously thought.

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