Abstract # 13447 Event # 26:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:30 AM-10:45 AM: (Room 325) Oral Presentation


WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE…AND HOW THEY GET THERE: BONOBO, CHIMPANZEE AND HUMAN NAVIGATION IN VIRTUAL REALITY (VR)

F. L. Dolins1, C. R. Menzel4, K. Janmaat2, K. Schweller3, M. Allritz5 and J. Call5
1University of Michigan-Dearborn, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Dearborn, MI 48128, USA, 2Max Planck Institute, 3Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative, 4Georgia State University , 5University of St. Andrews
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     What kinds of spatial information do human and nonhumans attend to in their environment? How does this knowledge form the basis of intelligent spatial behaviors? We studied 5 Bonobos (1 adolescent, 4 adults), 6 adult Chimpanzees and 24 Humans (children, adults in US and Congo), and compared their performance on virtual touch-screen Navigation-foraging tasks (VR). Fruits (apples, bananas, grapes) were located in a simulated outdoor environment. Individual ordered preferences for these fruits were determined prior to testing. In Experiment 1, subjects were required to navigate to touch the fruits to receive rewards. These were auditory (“ding”), visual (piece of fruit glowed, then disappeared), and food for the nonhuman apes (they were given pieces of fruit corresponding to the virtual fruit; Humans were given corresponding plastic fruits). Our goal was to compare these species’ spatial strategies in localizing the fruits, and to determine whether their visits to fruit locations were in order of individual preference. In Experiment 2, we evaluated their ability to project spatial knowledge gained in virtual environments to solve spatial problems in the real world in a one-to-one correspondence (equivalence). Bonobos, Chimpanzees and adult and older children (Humans) all successfully generated shortcuts to novel food locations. These results are discussed with attention to navigational performance and spatial strategies. This cross-species, cross-cultural approach lends insight into the emergence of apes’ complex cognitive abilities.