Abstract # 2361 Poster # 104:

Scheduled for Friday, June 20, 2008 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 12 (Ball Rooms A and B) Poster Presentation


Association between the self-directed behavior of a zoo-living female chimpanzee and performance in a cognitive sequencing task

K. E. Wagner and S. R. Ross
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
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     Previous work has demonstrated an association between the self-directed behavior (SDB) of multiple primate species and anxiety-related arousal in social and nonsocial contexts. This link has also been explored in cognitive experimental tasks, in which chimpanzee subjects have been reported to exhibit higher frequencies of scratching behaviors with increased task difficulty. Few examinations however, have considered SDB within a single task to explore smaller, performance-related variations. We report a relationship between the SDB of an adult female chimpanzee (Pan troglodyte) and inter-trial performance in a cognitive sequencing task. Using a computer touch-screen interface, the subject sequenced two differential stimuli in a predetermined order to obtain a small food reward paired with an auditory signal. Incorrect responses were followed by a different auditory signal and no reward. Following each trial, all SDB was recorded by number of bouts and type. The subject produced a higher frequency of rough scratching bouts during sessions at or below chance performance [t(21)=1.92, p=0.030] and following incorrect, compared to correct, individual trials [t(32)=8.24, p<0.001]. There were no effects of overall performance on gentle scratching, which may be less robustly linked with arousal than rough scratching. Results support the association between specific classes of self-directed behavior and anxiety-related arousal in chimpanzees and advocate careful assessment of chimpanzee participants in cognitive investigations.