Abstract # 18:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2012 03:15 PM-03:30 PM: Session 4 (Camellia ) Oral Presentation


A CHIMPANZEE’S (PAN TROGLODYTES) MULTIPLE OBJECT RETRIEVAL PLANS: BREAKING MEMORY INTO COMPONENTS OF OBJECT TYPE, LOCATION, AND PREFERENCE RANK

C. R. Menzel and J. W. Kelley
Language Research Center, Georgia State Univ., Decatur, GA 30034, USA
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     The ability of nonhuman primates to remember and communicate about object that are displaced in space and time and completely out of view has, we believe, been greatly underrated. At the same time it is poorly understood and has seldom been analyzed experimentally. We have found that a female lexigram-using chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), “Panzee,” discounts her own preferences and communicates objective information about the distant environment. When queried “what is here?” or “where is X?” or “what do you want?” Panzee can break her memory of a hidden object into components of object type, location, or preference rank. An analysis of Panzee’s lexical and spatial errors in 6 experiments was undertaken to characterize her memory organization in greater depth. Panzee’s errors were primarily when, in a given “what do you want?” query, she would indicate through her lexigram selection that she was pursuing item A but direct the person to uncover item B, and then in the next round of query pursue and retrieve item A. These and other findings suggest that multiple object retrieval plans are activated simultaneously and that objects are grouped by preference level. The findings are useful for understanding the multiple, simultaneously active components of primate memory. Supported by HD056352 and HD060563.