Abstract # 127:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 19, 2010 10:00 AM-10:10 AM: Session 20 (Medallion Ballroom B) Oral Presentation


PROSPECTIVE MEMORY AND PLANNING BY RHESUS MONKEYS (MACACA MULATTA) ON A COMPUTERIZED TASK

M. J. Beran1, E. D. Klein1, T. A. Evans1 and G. O. Einstein2
1Georgia State University, Language Research Center, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA, 2Furman University
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Prospective memory (PM) research with animals has been limited. This is unfortunate given that such research could help us better understand the evolutionary foundations of mental time travel and discern whether such time travel is a uniquely human capacity. We tested PM in eight computer-savvy rhesus monkeys by presenting them with a variation of the matching-to-sample task. A sample image appeared in the center of the computer screen, and four comparisons appeared around the perimeter (one of which matched the sample). The immediate task was to move the cursor from the edge of the screen to the sample. However, because deflection of the joystick masked the comparisons, successful PM required that monkeys first encode the location of the matching comparison. Thus, monkeys had to plan future responses before they were allowed to make them. After moving the cursor into contact with the sample, monkeys performed a psychomotor task that involved pursuing moving stimuli around the screen. Later, they had to make the matching response either with or without any cue. Some monkeys remembered when to make a matching response even without a cue, and most monkeys were significantly above chance in making correct matching responses [Binomial Test: P<0.01]. Thus, monkeys anticipated future responses and some perhaps relied on prospective memory to remember to make those responses. This research is supported by NSF Grant BCS-0924811.