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Cognitive Control and Metacognition in Chimpanzees

Cognitive Control and Metacognition in Chimpanzees

(p.454) 20 Cognitive Control and Metacognition in Chimpanzees
Chimpanzees in Context
Michael J. BeranBonnie M. PerdueAudrey E. Parrish
University of Chicago Press

Cognitive control involves a number of executive and regulatory processes. It is a hallmark feature of human cognition, and recent comparative tests have shown that some nonhuman animals might share aspects of cognitive control with humans. One such aspect is metacognition: “thinking about thinking.” Metacognition allows individuals to assess what information they have and what information they still need, and it provides measures of confidence in knowledge and ability. It has been shown that chimpanzees show confidence in responses to cognitive tests by moving to a reward dispenser more often when they were correct than when they were incorrect, and without waiting for external feedback as a cue to whether they should move to the dispenser or not. This chapter presents new data that indicate how one chimpanzee extended these ‘confidence movements’ to new tasks that assessed quantitative abilities and perceptual acuity. These demonstrations may reflect certain types of metacognitive capacities in chimpanzees that approximate those of humans, and the performances of chimpanzees in these kinds of tests have implications for considering the nature of the intelligence of these animals and perhaps implications regarding states of conscious awareness in chimpanzees.

Keywords:   chimpanzees, metacognition, confidence, cognitive control, consciousness, perception

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