Mirror self-recognition in a gorilla (gorilla gorilla gorilla) Thesis

(2007). Mirror self-recognition in a gorilla (gorilla gorilla gorilla) . 10.25148/etd.FI13101588

thesis or dissertation chair


  • Allen, Melinda R.


  • Psychologists have studied self-recognition in human infants as an indication of self-knowledge (Amsterdam, 1972) and the development of abstract thought processes. Gallup (1970) modified the mark test used in human infant work to examine if nonhuman primates showed similar evidence of mirror self-recognition. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and orangutans (Pongo pygmnaeus) pass the mirror self-recognition test with limited mirror training or exposure. Other species of primates, such as gorillas and monkeys, have not passed the mirror test, despite extensive mirror exposure and training (Gallup, 1979). This project examined a gorilla (G. gorilla gorilla) named Otto in the traditional mark test. Using the modified mark-test, there were more incidents of touching the marked area while Otto was in front of the mirror than when he was not in front of the mirror. These results indicated that Otto was able to show some evidence of selfawareness.

publication date

  • April 4, 2007

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)