Orangutan watches a magic trick

10 Dec

This is a wonderful compendium of videos and Matthew Cobb is right to reference Piaget, whose work is underestimated by many evolutionary psychologists.
Piaget saw his work in an evolutionary context and his ideas are used in comparative psychology.

Why Evolution Is True

by Matthew Cobb

This fantastic video shows a young orangutan being shown a ‘magic’ trick through the enclosure glass. Just watch:

The orangutan shows the same kind of response as you’d expect from a one year-old human infant. It knows that things don’t just disappear, so when something apparently does, the response is one of amazement and what looks like laughter.

D*gs can similarly be confused by a trick, although lacking the wit of an orangutan, they simply get cross:

You can guess what cats think of something as trivial as prestidigitation:

Learning the physical rules of the universe, in particular what the Swiss psychologist Piaget called the conservation of matter, is a tricky business. This neat video of a 4.5 year old child showing his understanding of the world is fascinating:

Finally, you may have noticed that the YouTube user who posted the orangutan video, Dan Zaleski, entitled it…

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