Capuchin monkeys’ use of human and conspecific cues to solve a hidden object-choice task

Capuchin monkeys’ use of human and conspecific cues to solve a hidden object-choice task Learning by watching others can provide valuable information with adaptive consequences, such as identifying the presence of a predator or locating a food source. The extent to which nonhuman animals can gain information by reading the cues of others is often tested by evaluating responses to human gestures, such as a point, and less often evaluated by examining responses to conspecific cues. We tested whether ten brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus [Sapajus] apella) were able to use cues from monkeys and a pointing cue from a human to obtain hidden rewards. A monkey could gain access to a reward hidden in one of two locations by reading a cue from a conspecific (e.g., reaching) or a human pointing. We then tested whether they could transfer this skill from monkeys to humans, from humans to monkeys, and from one conspecific to another conspecific. One group of monkeys was trained and tested using a conspecific as the cue-giver and was then tested with a human cue-giver. The second group of monkeys was trained and tested with a human cue-giver and was then tested with a monkey cue-giver. Monkeys that were successful with a conspecific cue-giver were also tested with a novel conspecific cue-giver. Monkeys learned to use a human point and conspecific cues to obtain rewards. Monkeys that had learned to use the cues of a conspecific to obtain rewards performed significantly better than expected by chance when they were transferred to the cues of a novel conspecific. Monkeys that learned to use a human point to obtain rewards performed significantly better than expected by chance when tested while observing conspecific cues. Some evidence suggested that transferring between conspecific cue-givers occurred with more facility than transferring across species. Results may be explained by simple rules of association learning and stimulus generalization; however, spontaneous flexible use of gestures across conspecifics and between different species may indicate capuchins can generalize learned social cues within and partially across species. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Animal Cognition Springer Journals

Capuchin monkeys’ use of human and conspecific cues to solve a hidden object-choice task

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Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany
Subject
Life Sciences; Behavioral Sciences; Zoology; Psychology Research
ISSN
1435-9448
eISSN
1435-9456
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10071-017-1118-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Learning by watching others can provide valuable information with adaptive consequences, such as identifying the presence of a predator or locating a food source. The extent to which nonhuman animals can gain information by reading the cues of others is often tested by evaluating responses to human gestures, such as a point, and less often evaluated by examining responses to conspecific cues. We tested whether ten brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus [Sapajus] apella) were able to use cues from monkeys and a pointing cue from a human to obtain hidden rewards. A monkey could gain access to a reward hidden in one of two locations by reading a cue from a conspecific (e.g., reaching) or a human pointing. We then tested whether they could transfer this skill from monkeys to humans, from humans to monkeys, and from one conspecific to another conspecific. One group of monkeys was trained and tested using a conspecific as the cue-giver and was then tested with a human cue-giver. The second group of monkeys was trained and tested with a human cue-giver and was then tested with a monkey cue-giver. Monkeys that were successful with a conspecific cue-giver were also tested with a novel conspecific cue-giver. Monkeys learned to use a human point and conspecific cues to obtain rewards. Monkeys that had learned to use the cues of a conspecific to obtain rewards performed significantly better than expected by chance when they were transferred to the cues of a novel conspecific. Monkeys that learned to use a human point to obtain rewards performed significantly better than expected by chance when tested while observing conspecific cues. Some evidence suggested that transferring between conspecific cue-givers occurred with more facility than transferring across species. Results may be explained by simple rules of association learning and stimulus generalization; however, spontaneous flexible use of gestures across conspecifics and between different species may indicate capuchins can generalize learned social cues within and partially across species.

Journal

Animal CognitionSpringer Journals

Published: Jul 24, 2017

References

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