Abstract # 122:

Scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2015 10:15 AM-10:30 AM: (Cascade F) Oral Presentation


P. G. Judge, O. Tomeo, S. L. Zander, B. Powell and L. E. Miller
Bucknell University, Animal Behavior Program, One Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA
     By comparing two stimuli and understanding a relation between them, an animal can form a relational concept. One such concept is the identity concept, in which an organism recognizes the sameness between stimuli. A common method for investigating the identity concept is a match-to-sample (MTS) paradigm. We tested for the identity concept in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) using a simultaneous two-choice MTS task. Monkeys were presented with a stimulus image on a touch screen and, when they touched this sample stimulus, two stimuli would appear as choices below the sample. Monkeys were rewarded for selecting the matching stimulus. Of six monkeys that underwent MTS training, only one learned the task. In 20-trial sessions, she correctly selected significantly more often than chance (p<0.05 binomial test) after 236 training sessions. When this monkey was presented with a novel pair of transfer stimuli, she matched over chance in her second test session. On her fourth pair of novel stimuli, she matched over chance during her first test session. Although five monkeys did not perform the matching task after a median of 278 training sessions, spontaneous transfer of matching ability to novel stimuli by one monkey indicated that squirrel monkeys could formulate an identity concept. To our knowledge, the result was the first time the identity concept has been demonstrated in this New World monkey species.