Great Apes (Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla, Pongo abelii) Follow Visual Trails to Locate Hidden Food

Christoph Johannes Voelter, Josep Call

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Whether nonhuman primates understand causal relations beyond mere associations is still a matter of debate. We presented all four species of nonhuman great apes (N = 36) with a choice between 2 opaque, upside down cups after displacing them out of sight from their starting positions. Crucially, 1 of them had left a yogurt trail behind it. Great apes spontaneously used the trail to select the yogurt baited cup. Follow-up experiments demonstrated that chimpanzees distinguished trails based on the temporal order of cause and effect by ignoring trails that were already present before the reward was hidden. Additionally, chimpanzees did not select cups based on the amount of yogurt near them but instead preferred cups that signaled the endpoint of the trail. We conclude that apes' choices reveal sensitivity to a causal relation between cause (reward) and effect (trail) including their temporal order.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-208
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume128
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • primates
  • cognition
  • causality
  • diagnostic reasoning
  • CHILDREN HOMO-SAPIENS
  • INVISIBLE DISPLACEMENT
  • YOUNG-CHILDREN
  • CAUSAL
  • CHIMPANZEES
  • PYGMAEUS
  • MONKEYS
  • ORIENTATION
  • MECHANISMS
  • INFERENCES

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