Abstract # 13136 Event # 172:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 11, 2018 10:30 AM-10:45 AM: (Chula Vista ) Oral Presentation


CAPTIVE SQUIRREL MONKEYS (SAIMIRI SCIUREUS) ASSIGN VALUE AND DEMONSTRATE SELF-CONTROL IN A TOKEN EXCHANGE PARADIGM

R. C. Russell, K. Early, M. C. Painter and P. G. Judge
Animal Behavior Program, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA
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     Self-control is a prerequisite for more complex cognitive processes, such as cooperation and planning. We used an existing token exchange paradigm to test for self-control in six squirrel monkeys. Monkeys were taught that different tokens could be exchanged for foods differing in value. Then, we initiated “bartering up” tests. After successfully exchanging the low-value token, they were offered a choice between the low-value food and the high-value token. If selected, the high-value token could be exchanged for the high-value food. Some subjects chose to forego the immediately available low-value food in favor of the high-value token (p=0.041, binomial test). To control for the possibility that these monkeys learned the simple associative rule “always choose the token,” we also conducted “bartering down” tests. After successfully exchanging the high-value token, the monkeys were presented with a choice between the high-value food and the low-value token. Monkeys did not select the low-value token, indicating that they were not utilizing a simple associative rule and were indeed choosing the object of higher value. To further explore their cognitive abilities, we interspersed bartering up and bartering down trials within the same testing sessions. Monkeys optimized the value of their reward significantly more than chance (p=0.012, binomial test). Successful performance indicated that squirrel monkeys were capable of self-control on this task and possess this prerequisite for more complex cognitive processes.