Abstract # 172:

Scheduled for Friday, August 19, 2005 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: (Cambridge/Oxford Room) Poster Presentation


H. Freeman, J. L. Russell, S. Shonka, E. Reynolds and W. D. Hopkins
Div. of Psychobiology, Yerkes Reg. Prim. Res. Ctr., Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
     Several studies have shown that chimpanzees will engage in self-exploration using a mirror to explore otherwise invisible parts of their body. The scope and generalization of this behavior to degraded self-images, with limited exposure has not yet been explored. Sixty chimpanzees that had never viewed themselves on a LCD screen (TFT color, 2.5 in. diagonally, 112,000 pixels) of a video camera were filmed in two conditions. In the toward condition the LCD screen was facing the chimpanzee and in the away condition the LCD screen was facing the experimenter. The order of the conditions was counterbalanced across subjects. From the tapes, eight different behavioral categories were scored including mirror self-directed behaviors, no mirror self-directed behaviors, reach towards the camera, body and face contingency, and other behaviors. Paired sample t-tests were performed on each of the categories between the toward and away conditions. There were significantly more behaviors seen in the towards compared to the away condition for the categories of self-directed behaviors t(59) = -2.58, P < 0.01, reach t(59) = 2.48, P < 0.01, body contingency t(59) = 4.20, P < 0.01, and face contingency t(59) = 5.44, P < 0.001. These results indicate that chimpanzees engage in self-exploratory behaviors, indicative of self-recognition, even when viewing a degraded image and with which they had limited exposure. Supported by NIH grants NS-36605 and NS-42867.