Abstract # 13334 Poster # 103:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 22, 2019 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Alumni Lounge) Poster Presentation


ARE SOCIAL STIMULI REWARDING TO CHIMPANZEES (PAN TROGLODYTES)? A STUDY ON THE INTRINSIC MOTIVATION TO VIEW VIDEOS OF SOCIAL AND NON-SOCIAL STIMULI

M. C. Mareno1, M. M. Mulholland1,2, S. J. Neal Webb1,3 and W. D. Hopkins1
1The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, 650 Cool Water Drive, Bastrop, Texas 78602, USA, 2Georgia State University, 3University of Copenhagen
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     It is claimed that social stimuli are rewarding to primates but few, if any, studies have explicitly demonstrated their reward value. Here, we examined whether chimpanzees would produce overt responses for the opportunity to view social compared to non-social stimuli. We provided 18 groups (N=85) of captive chimpanzees with access to a touchscreen during four, one-hour sessions (two ‘social’ and two ‘non-social/control’). The sessions consisted of ten, 15-second videos of either chimpanzees engaging in a variety of behaviors (social) or vehicles, humans, or other animals engaged in some activity (non-social). For each chimpanzee, we recorded the number of responses to the touchscreen and the frequency in watching the videos. Independent t-tests revealed no sex differences in either touching or watching the social or non-social stimuli (p>0.05). A mixed-model ANOVA with session type and rearing (mother- or nursery-reared) showed chimpanzees watched the screen significantly more often during the social (M=18.99, SE=2.47) compared to non-social sessions (M=10.54, SE=1.39, F(1,83)=18.16, p<0.001). Chimpanzees also touched the screen significantly more during social (M=12.57, SE=2.41) than non-social sessions (M=9.07, SE=1.54, F(1,83) =3.34, p=0.05). There were no significant main effects of rearing, nor any interactions between rearing and stimulus type on frequency of touching or watching (p>0.05). Our results indicate social stimuli are intrinsically rewarding, as chimpanzees made more overt responses for the opportunity to view social compared to non-social stimuli.