Does early care affect joint attention in great apes (Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus, Pongo abelii, Pongo pygmaeus, Gorilla gorilla)?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Caisie A. Pitman, Robert W. Shumaker
Journal of Comparative Psychology
, , , ,
1939-2087 0735-7036

The ability to share attention with another is the foundation on which other theory of mind skills are formed. The quality of care received during infancy has been correlated with increased joint attention in humans. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of care style (responsive or basic) and caregiver type (ape or human) during the first 6 months on joint attention in 4 great ape species (Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla, Pongo spp., and Pan pansicus). Great apes engaged in joint attention with conspecifics and humans regardless of the style of early care they experienced from either a great ape mother or human caregiver. This finding suggests that joint attention is a robust ability in great apes that is resilient against at least some differences in early care. Future studies using additional measures of early care quality are recommended.


Back to Resources