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Is This An Order I See Before Me? Simultaneous Ranking and Categorization in Humans and Other Primates 
When making choices, it helps to have preferences, not just for individual items but for whole classes of items. The flexible process of bundling things into categories is therefore essential to making decisions rapidly and consistently. This aptitude is present in many species, suggesting that it evolved long before our human capacity for language. My colleagues and I tested both humans and rhesus monkeys using a series of tasks that required both the categorization of photographs and the deduction of an unknown ordering to those categories, all accomplished without any verbal instruction. Both monkeys and humans were able to solve these tasks, even when the categories were unfamiliar and abstract. This suggests that primates generally (and not merely humans) can form and express consistent preferences for whole categories of items, even while in the process of learning those categories for the first time.

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