7 Pages

Self-Recognition in Nonhuman Primates

Self-recognition by nonhuman organisms was first described by Gallup (1970), who presented chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) with mirrors. The chimpanzees initially directed their behav­ ior toward the mirror image, acting as though it was an unfamiliar conspecific. Following sev­ eral hours experience with the mirror, these “social behaviors” decreased and behaviors that Gallup termed “self-directed” emerged. Self­ directed behaviors included picking the teeth using the mirror image to guide the hands, vi­ sually inspecting the ano-genital region (an oth­ erwise visually inaccessible area) by looking at the mirror image, and blowing bubbles with the mouth while visually inspecting the bubbles in the mirror image.