. Add in weakness and criticism of theory of mindThe theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states, beliefs, intents, desires, pretending and knowledge to not only oneself but others and also to understand that others have beliefs desires intentions and perspectives that are different from one’s own. The complexity of the human mind, development of cognitive features and the brains have all been due to the evolution of man in different situations and circumstances along different areas and periods of time, as well as the need for innovative ways in which we have made it possible to survive, and in doing so tools, gadgets and other forms of modern technology have been welcomed into the many centuries due to our capabilities. Humans stand above any other animal as dominantly superior, albeit some animals potentially have a capability to understand and display levels of human complexity to an extent, through their notable ability in reciprocating a form of language with recognised responses, advanced tool use, mathematics, self awareness and many other features humans collectively possess.
Therefore reasons and evidence for this will be discussed and critiqued.The first way in which it can be seen that animals possess and understanding of oneself and the mind is through self awareness. Self awareness is being aware of different aspects of the self, including traits and behaviours. A study conducted by Gordon Gallup in 1970 shows the extent of animals self awareness and the evidence of a feature that belongs to the theory of mind. The study included many different animals such as dolphins, elephants, magpies and chimpanzees. In the study animals that were placed in a solitary environment had a mirror placed for them to familiarise themselves with the object, the animals then had a red mark unknowingly put on their eyebrow and top ear and later placed them back into the environment with the mirror and observed the reaction when it sees the mark in the mirror or whether it recognises it.
Results of the experiment had shown that of all animals tested and observed the most successful results had emerged from 21 chimpanzees where 18 of the 21 had shown spontaneous explorations of themselves and their skin before adding the red mark, however after seeing the red mark on themselves in the mirror chimpanzees had touched the mark around 4-10 times. This study clearly shows the level to which animals can systematically respond to visual cues as well as physically inspect affected areas, this then highlights the feature that is self awareness that humans also possess thus agreeing that animals do have a theory of mind and an ability in cognitive processing and reactions as behaviour shown could be explained to be similar if experiments were with humans. It is also important to understand that multiple animals had been tested but chimpanzees were amongst those of significant results, there were many animals that did not manage to recognise the mark, it is also interesting to examine that of although old world monkeys did not pass the test, new world monkeys were able to pass and did show a conceptual ability for self recognition HauserAnother way animals can be argued to posses the theory of mind is the feature of their helpfulness and habit of sharing.
Prosocial behavior is the social behaviour that benefits other people such as sharing, in some animal studies it is understood that animals show a level of understanding among each other for requests and mutual items such as food and are therefore able to adhere to emotional situations. Although the concept of sharing seems like only a human characteristic evidence shows that animals are also capable of this. Free rats were placed into an arena with another rat, here one of the rats were under a restrainer, however the restrained rat was freed by the other, the study also showed that although empty restrainers were not touched, there was no stimulus to incite behaviour but the free rat still helped the other out of the restrictions. Moreover when challenged placed in a situation with freeing the other rat and chocolate being in another restrainer rats opened both restrainers and shared the chocolate. These findings therefore support the claim of animals involvement and use of some prosocially motivated actions and in a response to distress are able to act in accordance to conceptual and emotional situations approving of ability of teamwork of sharing proving animals have an understanding of others and emotion. BARTAL ET AL in addition when comparing studies studies showed that neither kinship or perceived similarity is needed to motivate prosocial behaviour Baden et al(lower down)In conjunction with the ability to use empathy in certain situations and show characteristics of sharing another feature belonging to the theory of mind is cooperation.
The responses of the animals were noted by Plotnik et al who conducted the study on elephants and had found that under a task where only two sides would result in a reward for both as they are able to learn critical elements of a partner’s role in co operation in addition the elephants inhibited pulling responses for up to 45 seconds if the partner was slow or delayed. Furthermore they were also seen to not bother pulling if the partner did not have access to the rope thus confirming the feature of cooperation and elephants the clarity that there is an obvious level of understanding.