Monkeys’ mistake detector

Specific brain cells in macaques respond to fellow animal’s error

By Roberta Kwok, 10:00 AM August 26, 2012

You’ve probably learned lessons by watching other people goof up. For example, if you saw another kid ride her bike too fast around a corner and fall down, you might ride your bike more slowly on that turn.

“We humans are very sensitive to others’ mistakes,” Masaki Isoda of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan told Science News. And the same is true for other animals, his new data show.

Isoda’s team has discovered that in monkeys, a small part of the animal’s brain is...

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