Abstract # 8027 Event # 118:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 26, 2017 04:15 PM-04:30 PM: (National Ballroom Salon A) Oral Presentation


C. R. Menzel and K. Sayers
Georgia State University, Language Research Center, Decatur, GA 30034, USA
     This study examined how primates shift the focus of their attention to discover new resources and to navigate skillfully within their social field. Primates typically forage within a complex social-ecological context, and the constraints and opportunities afforded are different for each individual. Field observations suggest that animals register the layout of pathways, potential feeding sites, and the movements of group members almost constantly during their daily ranging. At any moment, the vast majority of impinging stimuli are in the background of attention, but salient events can grab attention and cause a rapid reorientation of behavior. Discovery of food is one such event. A social group of 10 tufted capuchins (Cebus or Sapajus spp) were presented with trial-unique food-finding problems in an open field. The group was video recorded prior to and after food discovery. Animals detected another’s manual grasping of food exceedingly quickly. Onlookers discriminated between discovery and mere searching without finding. Animals possibly used the oriented movements of others to discriminate the precise food location. Over minutes, the focus of search activity shifted from the initial food location to surrounding environmental structures, including structures of the same general type. Responses following the detection of food varied sharply across individuals, in ways that tended to provide an advantage to the individual in its particular social and ecological situation. Supported by HD060563.