Abstract # 2517 Poster # 58:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 5 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


DEVELOPMENT OF SPATIAL PLANNING BY CAPUCHINS (CEBUS APELLA) TO COMPLETE TWO-DIMENSIONAL MAZES: EVALUATING THE EFFECTS OF PRACTICE

J. Pan1, D. Dorothy Fragaszy1, E. H. Kennedy1,2 and T. Pickering1
1University of Georgia, Department of Psychology, Athens, GA 30602, USA, 2Frostburg State University
line
     

A previous study showed that seven capuchin monkeys navigating 192 unique two-dimensional mazes chose the correct path on 59% of choices. According to cognitive developmental theories, planning can be learned. We predicted that the monkeys’ navigational accuracy in these mazes would improve with practice. To evaluate this prediction, three monkeys (Replication group) that participated in the previous study completed replications of the 192 mazes (hereafter, familiar mazes) to asymptotic proportion of correct choices. In follow-up sessions, they completed 24 familiar mazes, 24 novel mazes, and 24 familiar mazes in novel spatial orientation. Three other monkeys (No-Replication group), that performed better than the Replication group in the previous study, completed the follow-up mazes but no replications of the familiar mazes. We compare the performance of these two groups on the follow-up mazes. The Replication group made more correct choices than the No-Replication group in the follow-up testing [80.6% choices correct vs. 73.3% correct, respectively; p=0.005, Fisher’s exact test, 2-tailed]. All the monkeys performed equivalently on novel and familiar mazes (stepwise logistic regression). One monkey from the Replication group performed slightly better on the mazes with novel orientation than the other two categories of mazes [Wald's Χ2(2)=5.38, p=0.068, stepwise logistic regression]. With practice, capuchin monkeys' navigation of novel mazes improved; they learned to plan.