Ability to Recognize Individuals
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The ability to recognize individuals is a highly advantageous skill for social living species. Although not always clear, an important distinction in the literature is that between individual discrimination and individual recognition. Individual discrimination is the ability to differentiate one individual from all the rest, whereas individual recognition is the ability to differentiate each individual from every other individual and is the most precise form of recognition (Beecher 1989). This entry discusses the evidence for the recognition of conspecific individuals in nonhuman animals, specifically through the auditory and visual systems.
Studying nonhumans provides important insight into the evolution of human sociocognitive skills, such as individual recognition. As in human societies, most social species live in groups that are structured by kinship, dominance, and reproductive...
KeywordsFace Recognition Inversion Effect Vervet Monkey Individual Recognition Holistic Processing
I thank Sarah F. Brosnan and Darby Proctor for helpful feedback. CFT was funded by NSF GRFP (DGE-1051030).
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