Abstract # 13419 Event # 52:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 22, 2019 02:30 PM-02:45 PM: (Room 325) Oral Presentation


J. Watzek1,2
1Georgia State University, Department of Psychology, Language Research Center, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA, 2Many Primates
     Studies of primate cognition and behavior often suffer from small sample sizes and are typically focused on a narrow range of species. Differences in the populations, testing environments, and methodologies across sites further complicate comparisons between species and limit our ability to study the phylogenetic and ontogenetic trajectory of these behaviors. Here we present the ManyPrimates project, a collaborative framework for large and diverse groups of primatologists to conduct research studies on large and diverse groups of primates. To demonstrate the feasibility of the project, we conducted a pilot study testing short-term memory in 176 primates from 12 species (spanning apes, monkeys, and prosimians) at 11 sites located on 4 continents. Individuals saw a food reward being hidden under one of three inverted cups. They received the reward if they remembered and pointed to its location after a 0, 15, or 30s delay. We replicated and extend the expected retention effect: Longer delays resulted in worse performance across species (0 vs. 15s: b=-1.13, 95% CI [-1.65, -0.56], p<.001; 15 vs. 30s: b=-0.25, 95% CI [-0.43, -0.08], p=.011). Preliminary phylogenetic analyses showed a strong phylogenetic signal in our data, suggesting that the evolutionary history of short-term memory is tightly linked to primate phylogeny. We show that such large-scale, open-science collaborations in primate cognition and behavior are feasible and welcome new collaborators to answer exciting new questions.