Abstract # 175:

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


K. Smith1,2, S. P. Leland1,2, M. C. St. Claire2, C. K. Shaver2 and J. M. Erwin3
1BIOQUAL, Inc., Dept.of Primate Psychology, 2501 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850-3228, USA, 2BIOQUAL, Inc., Division of Primate Biology and Medicine, 2501 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850, USA, 3Consultant, Needmore, PA 17238, USA
     Imitative behavior may depend on self-awareness. Thirteen chimpanzees were observed as part of an environmental enrichment program during a baseline period followed by exposure to videos. Toothbrushes were initially presented in home enclosures (which included mirrors). Of the chimpanzees observed during the pretest, six individuals placed the brush end of the toothbrush in their mouths, but most brushes were then broken, discarded, and ignored. In an attempt to stimulate more use of the objects (brushes), the chimpanzees were shown one of two videos: a conspecific brushing his teeth (n = 8); or a human brushing her teeth (n = 5). Videos were shown 10 minutes per day for 3 days while brushes were present. Most (11/13) chimpanzees put the brush end of the toothbrush in their mouths during video sessions. Of the eight chimpanzees who viewed the conspecific, two looked toward a mirror while mouthing the brush and four watched the video and manipulated the brushes in their mouths. No chimpanzee in the group that observed the video of the human model manipulated the brushes while viewing the video or the mirror. Video experience seemed to alter behavior, but only those who saw a conspecific model exhibited what appeared to be self-referential behavior. Follow-up studies to assess means of adding value to enrichment objects are planned that will include more precise quantification and experimental control.