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Third-party social evaluations of humans by monkeys and dogs

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  • Third-party social evaluations of humans by monkeys and dogs
    Third-party social evaluations of humans by monkeys and dogs

    James R.AndersonaBenoitBuchera HitomiChijiiwaa HikaKuroshimaa AyakaTakimotob KazuoFujitaa
    a Department of Psychology, Kyoto University Graduate School of Letters, Japan b Department of Behavioral Science, Graduate School of Letters, Hokkaido University, Japan

    Received 12 June 2016, Revised 11 December 2016, Accepted 4 January 2017, Available online 7 January 2017. Highlights

    •Capuchin monkeys negatively evaluate people who refuse to help a third party. •Capuchin monkeys negatively evaluate people who exchange unfairly with others. •Dogs negatively evaluate people who refuse to help their owners. •Nonhuman species can engage in third-party based social evaluations.


    Developmental psychologists are increasingly interested in young children’s evaluations of individuals based on third-party interactions. Studies have shown that infants react negatively to agents who display harmful intentions toward others, and to those who behave unfairly. We describe experimental studies of capuchin monkeys’ and pet dogs’ differential reactions to people who are helpful or unhelpful in third-party contexts, and monkeys’ responses to people who behave unfairly in exchanges of objects with a third party. We also present evidence that capuchin monkeys monitor the context of failures to help and violations of reciprocity, and that intentionality is one factor underlying their social evaluations of individuals whom they see interacting with others. We conclude by proposing some questions for studies of nonhuman species’ third party-based social evaluations.


    Capuchin monkeys
    Squirrel monkeys
    Social evaluation
    Social cognition

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