Abstract # 33:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2005 03:30 PM-03:45 PM: Session 5 (Mayfair Room) Oral Presentation


B. J. Kelly1,2 and M. A. Novak1,2
1Neuroscience and Behavior Graduate Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA, 2Psychology Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
     One type of mental representation is the ability to transfer knowledge from a scale model to its larger referent. This ability has been observed in three-year-old children and chimpanzees, but little is known about its presence in Old World monkeys. In this study, rhesus monkeys (n = 3) were tested on a scale-model task. Subjects were trained to locate a uniquely colored ball hidden behind one of four doors on a rollaway apparatus measuring .9m x 1.52m. The monkeys then viewed a 1:4 scale model of the apparatus, which showed the location of the four colored balls. Each subject then had to find its colored ball in the larger apparatus on the first search attempt. After 16 trials, subjects demonstrated little comprehension of the task. Subsequently, doors were made distinct to facilitate task acquisition. Memory was also evaluated by determining whether monkeys recalled the initial hiding location on the model. Transfers from the large apparatus to the small model were also tested. After an additional twenty trials per transfer, one subject continued to perform at chance level (25%) on both tasks. One subject performed above chance on the model-to-referent task (P < 0.05), and the remaining subject performed above chance on the full-scale to model task (P < 0.05). These data suggest that some monkeys do have the ability to transfer information from a scale-model to its full-scale referent.