Mangabeys (Cercocebus torquatus lunulatus) solve the reverse contingency task without a modified procedure

Anna Albiach-Serrano*, Federico Guillen-Salazar, Josep Call

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Problem solving often relies on generating new responses while inhibiting others, particularly prepotent ones. A paradigm to study inhibitory abilities is the reverse contingency task (Boysen and Berntson in J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process 21:82-86, 1995), in which two different quantities of food are offered to an individual who receives the array he did not choose. Therefore, mastery of the task demands selecting the smaller quantity to obtain the larger one. Several non-human primates have been tested in the reverse contingency task. To date, only great apes and rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) have succeeded in the original task, with no need of procedural modifications as the large-or-none contingency, correction trials or symbolic stimuli substituting for actual food quantities. Here, four mangabeys were presented with two stimulus arrays of one and four raisins in the context of the reverse contingency task. Three of them learned to perform the task well above chance without a modified procedure. They also reached above-chance performance when presented with two stimulus arrays of zero and four raisins, despite the initial difficulty of choosing a null quantity. After a period of 7-10 months, in which the animals were not tested on any task, all three subjects continued to perform

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-396
Number of pages10
JournalAnimal Cognition
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

Keywords

  • inhibitory control
  • reverse contingency
  • task
  • monkeys
  • quantity discrimination
  • CHIMPANZEES PAN-TROGLODYTES
  • SAGUINUS-OEDIPUS
  • SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATIONS
  • INHIBITORY CONTROL
  • QUANTITY
  • FOOD
  • RESPONSES
  • PERFORMANCE
  • SELECTION
  • TAMARINS

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