Abstract # 47:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2013 04:30 PM-04:45 PM: Session 7 (Las Olas) Oral Presentation


P. G. Judge, J. L. Essler and M. S. Rossettie
Bucknell University, Peter G. Judge, Animal Behavior Program, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA
     One aspect of communication is the ability to comprehend a conspecific’s gestural cues. We tested whether brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) could use a knowledgeable conspecific’s gestural cues to obtain a hidden reward. Two capuchins faced each other in separate compartments of an apparatus with an open field in between. The open field contained two cups with holes on one side such that only one monkey, a cuing monkey, could see a reward inside one of the cups. We then moved both cups toward the other signal-receiving monkey and assessed whether it would utilize cues provided by the cuing monkey (e.g., reaching, body orientation) to select the cup containing the reward. Two of four monkeys learned to select the cup containing the reward significantly more often than chance (? 17 correct trials in 20 trial blocks; p < .01 two-tailed binomial test). Performance was not spontaneous as it required several 20-trial blocks for the two successful monkeys to learn to make correct selections (N = six and eight 20-trial blocks). Marked individual variation occurred as two monkeys did not utilize conspecific cues to obtain rewards after ten 20-trial blocks, but instead maintained a side preference. Successful choices by two monkeys to obtain hidden rewards provided experimental evidence that capuchin monkeys attend to and utilize the gestural cues of conspecifics.