Abstract # 166:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 20, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 14 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


EFFECTS OF SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS AND ACTIVITY ON VISUAL ATTENTION IN CAPUCHIN MONKEYS (CEBUS APELLA)

J. Crast and D. Fragaszy
University of Georgia, Department of Psychology, Athens, GA 30601, USA
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Among group-living primates, certain group members are more salient visual targets than others; however, the influence of partner activity on visual attention is unclear. We predicted that adult, pair-housed capuchin monkeys [N=8] would prefer to look at familiar cagemates over less familiar non-cagemates and that preference would be magnified in a feeding context. Each subject had the option of looking through one window at his cagemate or through a second window at one of six non-cagemates in three consecutive conditions: No Food, Partners Eating, All Eating. Preference was determined by the frequency and duration of looks to each partner in each condition. Across conditions, subjects looked significantly more frequently and for longer durations at non-cagemates [both variables: Wilcoxon signed ranks tests Z=-2.52, p=0.01]. Subjects looked at either partner most frequently and for longest durations during the Partner Eating condition, though not significantly so. Within pairs and across conditions, subordinate monkeys looked more frequently and for longer durations at dominant monkeys than vice versa [respective Paired t-tests: t=-3.91, p=0.03; t=-0.38, p=0.05]. These results show that specific social partners are more salient visual targets than others and that visual attention increases when partners are eating. In this study, visual monitoring targeted lesser-familiar social partners in a feeding context. These findings have implications for the manner in which visual attention to others influences learning and behavior.