Abstract # 228:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 20, 2015 10:20 AM-10:40 AM: (Cascade E) Symposium


C. F. Talbot1, L. Mayo2, T. Stoinski2 and S. F. Brosnan1,3
1Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA, 2Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, GA USA, 3Neuroscience Institute, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, 30302 USA
     Face discrimination was likely advantageous in the evolution of group living species, however, little is known about how sociality relates to these skills. Sociality may play an important role in discriminating familiar vs unfamiliar faces, as species that spend less time in social groups may have differential exposure to unfamiliar faces as compared to more social species. For example, group living humans and chimpanzees are better able to discriminate familiar as opposed to unfamiliar faces, but we do not know whether this is related to their sociality. We tested a less gregarious species, orangutans (Pongo spp.), to determine whether their face discrimination skills differed as function of familiarity. In particular, it is important to test socially housed orangutans to rule out the influence of social housing, rather than typical socio-ecology. This is possible with zoo-housed orangutans. Using a matching-to-sample paradigm, we found that two of the three orangutans performed significantly above chance when discriminating novel photographs of familiar (Binomial tests: Madu: Z=2.08, p=0.036; Satu: Z=2.08, p=0.036), but not unfamiliar, individuals indicating that within the primates, more and less gregarious species exhibit a familiarity effect. Aside from these results, I will discuss the benefits of testing a zoo-housed orangutan population for this research, which includes the aforementioned social housing situation and the ability to engage the public in this research.