Apes' Tracking of Objects and Collections

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Abstract.Recent research suggests that great apes are less vulnerable to cohesion violations than human infants are. In contrast to human infants, apes successfully track nonsolid substances or split solid objects through occlusion (Cacchione & Call, 2010a; Cacchione, Hrubesch, & Call, 2012, 2013). The present study aims to investigate whether the lower vulnerability of great apes to cohesion violations also manifests when they are tracking collections. While even very young human infants appreciate the continuous existence of solid bound objects, they fail to show similar intuitions when tracking collections of objects (Chiang & Wynn, 2000). In a manual search task inspired by recent infant research, we tested whether humans' closest relatives, the great apes, showed a similar contrast in their reasoning about single solid objects and objects within collections. The results suggest that, in contrast to human infants, great apes appreciate the continuous existence of objects within collections and successfully track them through occlusion. This confirms the view that great apes are generally less vulnerable to cohesion violations than human infants.

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