Juiszelle Bienvenu
Adineek Singh
Elisa Badu
Sanjana Hussain

Theory of mind is the idea that as humans grow, they develop a sense of self. It is considered unique to humans due to our large brains. It is partially measured in an infant’s ability to recognize themselves in a mirror. These results don’t prove that elephants have theory of mind and it would be impossible to test elephants for some of the other indicators of theory of mind. However, it does put into question the uniqueness of some of our abilities. Theory of mind is also what allows humans to behave altruistically. This study raises questions about elephant altruism. Elephants clearly have some sense of self yet they live in groups. Living in a group is not in and of itself a marker of altruism or compassion. It is a tool to ensure as many species survive as possible. But in our research we learned that elephants have more personal relationships than most animals, outside of primates. This in connection with their ability to understand themselves as individuals could indicate that they have the ability to behave with selflessness or compassion.