Self-Awareness in Other Species

Welcome to My Blog! This particular blog post is related to, or expands on, materials covered in my book: Biopsychology (9th Edition).


In Chapter 2 of Biopsychology (9th Edition), you learned that chimpanzees have been shown to exhibit a set of behaviours that was hypothesized by some researchers as indicative of self-awareness or self-recognition.  You also learned about how a test was developed, the mirror self-recognition (MSR) test, to address that hypothesis.  Below is a video that begins with a demonstration of what happens when a chimpanzee is exposed to a mirror for the first few times; then, the video shows what typically happens during an MSR test in chimpanzees and in humans.

Although the text limited its discussion to self-recognition in chimpanzees, it is important to realize that research on self-recognition in nonhuman species has not been limited to chimpanzees.  Other species have also been subjected to the MSR test.  Below is a list of some of the species that have passed the MSR test.

1.  Humans

2.  Chimpanzees

3.  Bonobos

4.  Orangutans

5.  Gorillas

6.  Bottlenose dolphins

7.  Killer whales

8.  Asian elephants

9.  European Magpies

The following video depicts a European Magpie passing the MSR test.


Additional Resources


References and Additional Readings