Essay Question:

    Consider the evidence for cognitive processes in animals, especially primates (monkeys and apes). What aspects of human cognition are unique?












  • The short answer to the answer to the question posed is that many aspects of human cognition are unique, and that the capacity for language is among the most important and appears to be notably absent in our closest living relatives.

  • It also seems to be the case that the human capacity for imitation is qualitatively different from the social learning found in apes (Donald, 1993; Inoue- Nakamura & Matsuzawa, 1997; Tomasello et al, 1993).

  • Other aspects of human cognition, such as short term memory for the locations of desired food items, the social recognition of other known individuals, and the recognition of objects independently of stimulus modality ('cross-modal' object recognition) are clearly not unique to our species, since they can be demonstrated in chimpanzees and in some cases in other primates and non-primate species as well.