Social animals have more social smarts


Lemurs from species that hang out in big tribes are more likely to steal food behind your back instead of in front of your face.

This behavior suggests that primates who live in larger social groups tend to have more "social intelligence," a new study shows. The results appear June 27 in PLOS ONE.

A Duke University experiment tested whether living in larger social networks directly relates to higher social abilities in animals. Working with six different species of lemurs living at the Duke Lemur Center, a team of undergraduate researchers tested 60 individuals to see if they would be more likely to steal a piece of food if a human wasn't watching them.

In one test, a pair of human testers sat with two plates of food. One person faced the plate and the lemur entering the room, the other had his or her back turned. In a second, testers sat in profile, facing toward or away from the plate. In a third, they wore a black band either over their eyes or over their mouths and both faced the plates and lemurs.

Written By: EurekAlert
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  1. I understand that in species which live both in the wild and are domesticated the former have larger brains.

    Presumably because those in the natural envirenment always have to be alert and or hunting, whereas their counterparts, even if they’re cats, have stuff layed on for them, and when not eating or playing they can have a kip in peace.

    Bit like me really!

  2. In reply to #1 by Stafford Gordon:

    The domestication of humans by cats is one of the nicer ironies of history.

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