Published On: Tue, May 17th, 2016

Monkeys react as human when gazed



A new research study states that similar to humans, monkeys display the same pattern of pursuing another’s gaze all through their lives, signifying the behavior is extremely rooted in our evolutionary past.

Pursuing another’s stare is a characteristic of human learning and socialization from infancy to old age. Laurie Santos, Psychologist at the Yale University in the US, stated that “Gaze-following is a crucial developmental pathway, which lays a foundation for acquiring language and interacting socially”,

Santos further added that “Here we find that gaze-following emerges in the same way in a species with an entirely different life history”,

Santos, Alexandra Rosati of Harvard University, Michael Platt of University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), and colleagues examined that how 481 rhesus monkeys residing in a protect reacted to the growing glimpse of a researcher. As with many human babies, infant monkeys started gaze-pursing from a much early age.

Though, they got many gazes than human babies do to discover what the researcher was observing, even subsequent to three or four glimpses illustrated nothing of interest. By their young years, monkeys arrive much supple in their gaze-pursuing and became familiar to repetitive looks over time.

All through adulthood, monkeys’ reactions were much diverse, and they started illustrating human-like sex disparities, with females reacting to look over males. Elder monkeys – similar to elder humans – then became less responsive to stare cues in general.

Santos continued as “This is the first study to show such a close relationship between social development in humans and monkeys. Testing such a large number of monkeys will also enable this team to study individual behavioral and genetic variations between animals”,

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These findings give thrilling innovative facts that monkeys’ social attention pursues an amazingly human-like path across age groups, stated the researchers.

Rosati, who is the lead researcher of the study, stated that “Monkeys have different social experiences than humans, they grow up much faster than we do and do not share features of human ageing such as menopause. Yet they show the same changes as humans in this foundational social skill from infancy to old age”,

Rosati further added that “These findings suggest that some social capacities such as gaze following may have a deeper biological basis than previously thought”,

The research study was cited in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

About the Author

Sidra Muntaha

- Sidra Tul Muntaha is a journalist (MA-Mass Communication and M.Phil in Mass Communication) based in Lahore. She is working as an editor at fashion, style and entertainment in the section of the Kooza. She writes fashion and entertainment articles for The Kooza News.

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