Image scoring in great apes

Yvan I. Russell*, Josep Call, Robin I. M. Dunbar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


'Image scoring' occurs when person A monitors the giving behaviour of person B towards person C. We tested for 'image scoring' in chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans. Subjects passively observed two types of incident: (i) a 'nice' person gave grapes to a human beggar, and (ii) a 'nasty' person refused to give. The subject witnessed both incidents in succession (but was unable to obtain the grapes). Shortly after, the ape had an opportunity to approach one or both human actors (nice/nasty), both of whom were now sitting side-by-side holding grapes. However, neither human offered their grapes if approached. The subject's expectation of which human was more likely to offer food was measured by comparing the proportion of time that subjects spent near each person. Chimpanzees (n = 17) spent significantly more time at the 'nice' window compared to 'nasty'. Also, preference for 'nasty' declined as trials progressed. Results for other apes were not significant. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-111
Number of pages4
JournalBehavioural Processes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • reputation
  • image scoring
  • chimpanzees
  • orangutans
  • bonobos
  • gorillas


Dive into the research topics of 'Image scoring in great apes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this