The comparative psychology of same-different judgments by humans (Homo sapiens) and monkeys (Macaca mulatta).

J. David Smith, Joshua S. Redford, Sarah M. Haas, Mariana V.C. Coutinho, Justin J. Couchman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The authors compared the performance of humans and monkeys in a Same-Different task. They evaluated the hypothesis that for humans the Same-Different concept is qualitative, categorical, and rule-based, so that humans distinguish 0-disparity pairs (i.e., same) from pairs with any discernible disparity (i.e., different); whereas for monkeys the Same-Different concept is quantitative, continuous, and similarity-based, so that monkeys distinguish small-disparity pairs (i.e., similar) from pairs with a large disparity (i.e., dissimilar). The results supported the hypothesis. Monkeys, more than humans, showed a gradual transition from same to different categories and an inclusive criterion for responding Same. The results have implications for comparing Same-Different performances across species--different species may not always construe or perform even identical tasks in the same way. In particular, humans may especially apply qualitative, rule-based frameworks to cognitive tasks like Same-Different. (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-374
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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