MonkeyPro Information Repository
Topic: Primate Cognition and Communication

Primates have advanced cognitive abilities: some make tools and use them to acquire food and for social displays; some have sophisticated hunting strategies requiring cooperation, influence and rank; they are status conscious, manipulative and capable of deception; they can recognize kin and nonspecific's; and they can learn to use symbols and understand aspects of human language including some relational syntax and concepts of number and numerical sequence. Research in primate cognition explores problem solving, memory, social interaction, a theory of mind, and numerical, spatial, and abstract concepts.

Lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, and New World monkeys rely on olfactory signals for many aspects of social and reproductive behavior. Specialized glands are used to mark territories with pheromones, which are detected by the vomeronasal organ; this process forms a large part of the communication behavior of these primates. In Old World monkeys and apes this ability is mostly vestigial, having regressed as trichromatic eyes evolved to become the main sensory organ. Primates also use vocalizations, gestures, and facial expressions to convey psychological state.