James Sweeney

Martha Gomez

Mayra Lavadenz

 

Byrne, Richard W.  The thinking ape:  evolutionary origins of intelligence.  Oxford; New

York:  Oxford University Press, 1995. 

 

Deception

 

            Though not explicitly stated the chapter implies that the breakthrough with the human mind could have started with deception.  There are three types of deception that have to do with the degree of intent with the deception.  The degrees are zero, first, and second order intentionality.  Zero-order is when there is no intention of anything at all.  The hawk-eyed moth for example has wings that look like the eyes of a hawk and when the moth senses danger it holds its wings up.  This fools the lizard that wants to eat the moth into believing the moth is a hawk.  The lizard does not want to be eaten by the hawk, so it will run, and the moth will be safe.  The eyes on the moth can be selected for by natural selection alone, yet the moth is not consciously doing so.  Instead, the moth is undergoing a preprogrammed response.

            First-order intentionality is when the organism does not realize that he or she is making another believe something untrue, but the organism does realize that the deceptive act will cause a desired result.  For example some house cats have learned that if they meow at the door to go outside, the owner will get up to open the door, and the comfortable chair will be open for the cat to sit there.  The cat probably does not realize that he is deceiving the owner, yet he probably realizes that meowing at the door will cause the chair to become empty.  Second-order intentionality is deception with full intention to dupe another organism into believing something untrue in order to reap the benefits at the others expense.

            It is near impossible to experimentally separate zero and first order intentionality, so we can classify these as unintentional deception and second-order as intentional deception.  While there are ways to suggest intentionality verses unintentionality, we should first look at which animals exhibit the behavior of deception.  The author studied tactical deception and looked for it using two criteria.  One, “does the animal carry out a behavior in appropriate circumstances…” and two, “does this have the appropriate functional consequence?” (Byrne, p. 124).

            They set out to study tactical deception because they noticed the behavior in the baboons they were studying at the time.  At first Byrne thought the behavior was exclusive to the population he was studying because no one else had reported such behavior.  But after speaking with colleagues he found that other people had noticed tactical deception, yet they had never reported it because it was rare.  Byrne was excited to hear these news because: 1) his sightings were confirmed, and because 2) deceptive behavior should be rare, particularly if one considers that other common adaptations would have occurred to counter act it.

            He did a massive study asking many scientists to report any behavior they believed to be a tactical deception.  The first interesting thing they found is that among wild animals only primates exhibit tactical deception.  Byrne says there is evidence that domestic cats and dogs use tactical deception but their wild counterparts do not.  After a rough sorting though the information they had “253 accounts of behavior that look like tactical deception” (Byrne, 128).  Then for they went case-by-case and asked “can we account for what we have seen without involving tactical deception?” (Byrne, p. 129).  Using three criteria to decide this they narrowed the pool down to 117 behaviors and only 49 of those were from the field.  Upon further study, Byrne found that almost all of the deception is found in chimpanzees and baboons.

Even though we cannot show if monkeys are genetically coded for deception or are better at learning, Byrne thinks that they are not genetically coded because only a few members of the species exhibit the behavior.  For example, a young baboon named Paul was hungry, while an adult baboon named Mel, had recently dug up some corm.  In the winter corm is one of the few food sources for these animals, but they have to dig through the hard cold soil to get to it.  Paul made sure they were alone and then let out a loud cry.  Paul’s mother then came running to his aid and chased Mel.  As soon as they left the area Paul ate Mel’s corm.  Paul could have learned this behavior because in the past he may have wandered too close to a feeding adult who then threatened Paul.  Consequently, Paul would scream in real fear and his mother would come to his aid and he would receive the reinforcement of food.  Therefore, this behavior could have been learned.  The same is true of the cat.  The cat could have genuinely wanted to go outside, but his primary desire was to sit on the chair.  After finding the chair was taken, the cat would meow to go outside. At this time, the owner would get up from the chair, and the cat would revert to his first desire; sitting on the chair.  After a few trials, the cat could learn this behavior leads to obtaining the chair, yet no deception is involved. 

            The next question is why would wild primates be able to learn these abilities while others animals could not.  Korbel used an experiment to answer this question, which we will discuss later.  For his experiment he used a relative of the baboon, Cercocebus torquatus.  He hid a desired piece of food somewhere in an area and allowed Rapide to watch where the food was hidden.  Korbel then put him with the rest of the group and let them all lose.  In the First trial Rapide went strait to the food, but Boss, the dominant member of the group, took the food from him.  In the second trial he stayed back and another animal ate the food.  In the third trial he was reluctant to go and went away from the food, when Boss followed him Rapide made a dash for the food and ate it before Boss could get to it.  In the fourth trial Rapide confidently ran the opposite direction from the food and once Boss followed him he dashed back to get the food.  The interesting result is it took Rapide four trials to learn this behavior through trial and error, but in laboratory trials it took hundreds to thousands of trials for rats and pigeons to learn a behavior in the same way.

            Now for the most compelling part of the chapter: looking at whether or not any of these animals show any intention in their behavior.  To do this Byrne would have to show the animal “has insights into the beliefs of the victim” (Byrne, p. 131).  Byrne suggests two ways to test for intention.  First, if the animal realized it had been deceived, which is termed righteous indignation.  Second, if the animal is able to anticipate and counter deceive, which is termed countering the anticipated behaviour.  Frans Plooij documented an example of righteous indignation.  While observing some captive chimpanzees, which were used to being around humans, one of the young ones came up to Plooij, so that he could begin grooming her.  Not wanting to make contact with them, Plooij pretended that he saw some desired object in the distance.  The young chimp ran off to look for it.  After a while the animal came back to Plooij and hit him over the head, and then ignored him for the rest of the day.

A good ways to see if counter deception works well is to see if it is used even when participants have no way of learning the deception through trial an error.  The best illustration of this is the experiment I alluded to earlier, which is an experiment performed by Emil Menzel in 1974.

 

One chimpanzee, Belle, was shown food hidden in the middle of a large, open enclosure, while the rest of the group of young chimpanzees was locked up out of sight. She was then replaced in the group, and all the chimpanzees let out into the enclosure. Belle usually led the group to the well-hidden site, and all shared the food. However, Rock, who was stronger than her, began to refuse to share and he monopolized the reward. Belle accordingly stopped uncovering the food if Rock was close. She sat on it until Rock left. Rock, however, soon learned this, and when she sat in one place for more than a few seconds, he came over, shoved her aside, searched her sitting place, and got the food. Belle nest stopped going all the way. Rock, however, countered by steadily expanding the area of his search through the grass near where Belle had sat. Eventually Belle sat farther and farther away, waiting until Rock looked in the opposite direction before she moved toward the food at all, and Rock in turn seemed to look away until Belle started to move somewhere. On some occasions rock started to wander off, only to wheel round suddenly precisely as Belle was about to uncover some food. Often Rock found even carefully hidden food that was 30 ft or more from Belle, and he oriented repeatedly at Belle and adjusted his place of search appropriately if she showed any signs of moving or orienting in a given direction. If Rock got very close to the food, Belle invariably gave the game away by a ‘nervous’ increase in movement. However, on a few trials she actually started off a trial by leading the group in the opposite direction from the food, and then, while Rock was engaged in his search, she doubled back rapidly and got some food. In other trials when we hid an extra piece of food about 10 ft away from the large pile, Belle led rock to the single piece, and while he took it she raced for the pile. When Rock started to ignore the single piece of food to keep his watch on Belle, Belle had temper tantrums (Byrne, p. 132).

 

Byrne points out that even though Rock’s first three actions could be accounted for, most of the later ones were very likely to be the result of conscious decision.  After looking case by case he found that 18 of the 117 deceptive behaviors had strong enough evidence to be considered intentional deception.  Another interesting observation was that only the great apes, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, showed intentional deception even though the highest amount of overall deception was found in the baboons.  There is further evidence to believe that the great apes are capable of understanding the intentions of others, which has to do with some specific tactics used by baboons but not found in the great apes.  This tactic is called “triadic” forms of deception.  This is when a third party is used as a social tool to manipulate another.  An example of this is when Paul used his mother to chase Mel away.  The fact that the great apes do not show this behavior suggests that the great apes have an understanding of the other apes intentions, because with the ability to understand another's intentions, it would be much more difficult to use this animal as a social tool.  Yet, it could also suggest that none of the great apes ever thought of trying it.  The former is probably more likely as seen in the case of a chimpanzee named Lucy.  Lucy, who was taught sign language, defecated on the carpet when nobody was around.  When one of the caretakers asked her about it, she tried to blame it on another caretaker.  This case shows that these animals probably do try to use the social tool tactic, but are not very successful.

            Another thing that suggests that the great apes have intentions is that they seem to show imagination.  Byrne terms imagination as deception in playing.  He lists many examples in the book, here are a few: eating pretend food, carrying an imaginary object and even hiding and retrieving it later, and pretending to pull a string toy and untangling the toy as if it got caught on something.

Finally in the last two pages of the chapter he briefly mentions teaching.  The main points of this section are that primates, carnivores, and raptors (an order of predatory birds) teach their young.  When these animals are teaching, their behavior has a negative effect on themselves, particularly because its time consuming, and can only perform these behaviors in the presence of their young.  He also mentions that primates also make sure the young are paying attention and they show scaffolding techniques, along with physically moving the student so the correct behavior will be learned.

 

 

 

 

Deception Outline

 

I.                   Introduction

A.     The Breakthrough of the human mind could have started with deception.

B.     Three types of deception.

1.      Zero-order:  no intention

a.       Example:  hawk-eyed moth butterfly, only a preprogrammed response selected by natural selection

2.      First-order:  organism does not realize he is deceiving another organism, but it does realize that the deceptive act will cause a desired result.

a.       Example:  Cats have learned that meowing at door to go outside will get the owner to get up to open door, and comfortable chair will become available

3.      Second-order:  intentionally deceptive/full intention to dupe another. 

C.     Since it is impossible to experimentally separate these…

1.      Zero and first order intentionalityč both are classified as unintentional deception. 

2.      Second-order intentionalityčintentional deception

 

II.                 How to detect tactical deception?

A.     Questions:

1.      Does the animal carry out a behavior in appropriate circumstances?

2.      Does this have the appropriate functional consequences?

B.     Byrne and team first noticed tactical deception in baboon.

1.      He thought it was exclusive to the population he was studying. 

2.      But other colleagues had found the same, but had not reported it because it was in rare instances. 

a.       Byrne was excited because

                                                                                                                                       i.      It confirmed his sightings

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Deceptive behavior should be rare

C.     Massive study of tactical deception

1.      Among wild animals, only primates exhibit tactical deception

2.      Domestic cats and dogs use tactical deception but their wild counterparts do not. 

3.      Almost all forms of deception are found in chimpanzees and baboons.

D.      You cannot show if monkeys are genetically coded for deception or are better at learning. 

1.      Byrne believes they are not genetically coded because only a few members of the species exhibit the behavior. 

                                                                                                                                       i.      Example:  Paul, a hungry baboon, sees Mel, who has dug up some corm.  (corm is one of the few food sources for these animals, but they must dig through the hard cold soil to get it)  Paul makes a loud scream when they are alone, and mother comes to his defense.  Paul get to eat the corm.  Consequently   

1.      Paul could have learned this behavior

2.      Same is true for cat example

 

III.               Why would wild primates be able to learn these abilities, while other animals could not

A.     Coussi-Korbel made experiment to answer this question

1.      He hid a desired piece of food somewhere in an area and allowed Rapide, a Cercocebus torquatus (cousin of baboon) to see it.  He then put Rapide with the rest of the group and let them lose.

a.       1st trial:  Rapide went straight to the food, but Boss, the dominant one in the group, took it.

b.      2nd trial:  he stayed back, and another animal took the food.

c.       3rd trial:  he was reluctant to and went away from the food, when Boss followed him; he made a dash for the food and ate it before Boss took it.

d.      4th trail:  confidently ran the opposite direction from food, and once Boss followed him, he dashed back to get it.

                                                                                                                                       i.      Results:  it took Rapide four trials to learn behavior through trial and error, but in laboratory trials it took hundreds to thousands of trials for rats and pigeons to learn a behavior in the same way. 

 

IV.              Do these animals show any intention in their behavior? 

A.     Qestion:  Does the animal have insights into the beliefs of the victim?

1.      Righteous Indignation:  if the animal realizes it has been deceived.

a.       Example:  Frans Plooji observed some captive chimpanzees, which were used to be around humans.  A young one came up to Plooji so that he could be groomed.  Plooji did not want to do this, so he saw some desired object in the distance.  The

young chimp ran off, but later came back and hit Plooji, and would not speak to him for the rest of the day. 

2.      Countering the anticipated behavior:  if the animal is able to anticipate and counter deceive.

B.     One of best ways to see if counter deception works well is to see whether it can be used if the participants have no way of learning through trial and error. 

1.      Example:  Belle, a chimpanzee, is shown food hidden, while the rest of group is lock up out of sight.  She usually led group to food, but Rock began to refuse to share food. 

a.       The have elaborate countering game

2.      Rock’s first three actions could be accounted for; the later ones were very likely to be the result of conscious decision.

3.      Only the apes, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, showed intentional deception even though the highest amount of overall deception was found in the baboons. 

C.     Great apes are capable of understanding the intentions of others, which has to do with some specific tactics used by baboons but not found in the great apes; this tactic is called “triadic” forms of deceptionč when a third party is used as a social tool to manipulate another.

1.      Examples:  Paul used his mother to chase away Mel

2.      Because great apes do not show this behavior, it suggests they have an understanding of the other apes intentions.

a.       Because the ability to understand another’s intentions would be much more difficult to use this animal as a social tool. 

                                                                                                                                       i.      Example:  chimpanzee named Lucy was taught sign language.  She defecated on the carpet, and blamed it on a caretaker.  This shows that animals probably do try to use the social tool tactic, but are not very successful.

b.      It could also suggest that none of the great apes ever thought of trying it.

3.      Great apes also show imagination, or deception in playing

a.       Examples:  eating pretend food, carrying an imaginary object and hiding and retrieving it later, and pretending to pull a string toy and untangling the toy as if it got caught on something. 

V.                 Main points

A.     Teaching is done by primates, carnivores, and raptors (an order of predatory birds)

1.      When they teach, their behavior has negative effect on themselves, because children must be present, and they have to make sure their young are paying attention and guide them in the correct behaviorčall of this so that the correct behavior will be learned. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Critical review

 

a) Identify up to three points made by the author that the panel found especially interesting or informative

1)      The most informative part of the article was when the author showed evidence for the fact that the great apes seem to have intention behind deception.

2)      It was interesting to see that domestic dogs and cat use tactical deceptions, but their wild counterparts do not.

3)      What I found interesting/motivating was the fact that certain great

Apes do seem to show imagination, in that they pretend to eat food, carry imaginary objects etc.

 

b) Identify up to three arguments made by the author that the panel either disagreed with and/or for which you think the author made a weak case.  Why?

1)      I think the weak point of the article was when he talked about teaching as a way to show understanding of a situation, because Byrne gave some examples but didn’t support the idea very well.

2)      I disagreed with the author when he says that the cat has no intent of deceiving when he goes to the door and acts as if he wants to go outdoors in order to sit in the warm chair.

3)      I think that a weakness in Byrne's theories is the unanswered question of, why is it that certain animals such as apes and chimpanzees show the ability to deceive? Doesn't that fact make these certain primates much like human beings, in that they do have the power to deceive?

 

c) Identify up to three concepts that, even after reading the material, the panel still had questions about, or that the panel would have lived the author to have explained further.

1)      I had further questions on testing the difference between zero and first order intentionality because the author mentioned that it was difficult and showed how you could assume which animals used which method, but I would have liked it if Byrne explained it in further detail.

2)      I would have liked the author to further explain the teaching techniques these organisms use, or at least some further examples.

3)      I would have enjoyed further discussion on the question of the underlying distinctions between man and ape, because some of his points seem to lead to the idea that what differentiates us is the power to deceive.