Abstract # 13218 Event # 170:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 11, 2018 10:00 AM-10:15 AM: (Chula Vista ) Oral Presentation


C. R. Menzel1 and K. Sayers1,2
1Georgia State Univ., Language Research Center, Decatur, GA 30034, USA, 2Southwest National Primate Research Center
     Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) engage in action sequences that can extend for hours. These include foraging, patrolling, problem solving, and recruitment episodes. Chimpanzees often have prior knowledge of the objects and social agents that are relevant to their success and, presumably, expectations about what will happen next, and where, and the general sequence in which events might unfold. Such generic, script-like background knowledge can support plans, hierarchical processes that control the sequence in which actions are to be performed. To address this scenario, we studied the behavior of a captive chimpanzee, “Sherman,” as he accomplished the following tasks across time: a) at time-1 observe a set of 8 bags of food from a watchtower overlooking a small forest and rank-order the expected value of the items based on quantity and other attributes, b) retain the items in memory, c) at time-2, recall the items and implement an action sequence aimed at recovering them based on this ranking, and d) at time-3 modify the ranking when novel or changed conditions were encountered. The chimpanzee significantly and adaptively modified his sequence of item recovery as a function of each of six types of experimental deletions and additions to the original set. The concepts of scripts, extended working memory, and hierarchical organization were useful in accounting for this ape’s extended action sequences. Supported by the Leakey Foundation and HD-060563.