Abstract # 84:

Scheduled for Friday, June 18, 2010 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 18 (Medallion Ballroom C/D/E/F) Poster Presentation


J. E. Perlman1, S. P. Lambeth2, V. Horner3, A. Martin1,4, K. Neu1, J. McMillan1 and M. A. Bloomsmith1,4
1Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA, 2Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, Bastrop TX 78602, 3Living Links Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30329, 4Center for Conservation and Behavior, School of Psychology, Georgia Insititute of Technology

Studies have shown chimpanzees can learn to perform tasks by watching live or videotaped demonstrators. The present study assessed whether female chimpanzees exposed to a videotaped demonstrator would learn a husbandry-related task, urinating into a receptacle on cue, faster than those without this experience. Nine adult chimpanzees were assigned to either control or experimental conditions. Experimental subjects were shown a “relevant” videotape of a chimpanzee urinating into a receptacle and immediately being given positive reinforcement. Control subjects were shown an “irrelevant” videotape of a chimpanzee performing a different task and immediately being given positive reinforcement. Subjects were exposed to the videotape 17 times. After each viewing, a trainer, blind to the experimental condition, conducted a 15-minute training session with the subject. During these 17 training sessions, 100% of the animals watching the relevant videotape urinated into the receptacle, while only 50% of the animals watching the irrelevant videotape met this training goal. While not significant with our small sample size [X2(1)=3.2, P=0.07], this outcome provides evidence that chimpanzees can use information from videotaped demonstrations and apply it to a training task. This study is an example of capitalizing on the cognitive abilities of chimpanzees to enhance chimpanzee behavioral management.