Social learning of an artificial fruit task in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)

DM Custance, Andrew Whiten, T Fredman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Social learning in 11 human-raised capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) was investigated using an artificial fruit that was designed as an analogue of natural foraging problems faced by primates. Each subject observed a human model open each of 3 principal components on the fruit in 1 of 2 alternative ways ("morphs"). The capuchin monkeys reproduced, to differing extents, the alternative techniques used for opening 1 component of the task (poking vs; pulling while twisting out a pair of smooth plastic bolts) but not the other 2. From the subjects' actions on the bolt latch, independent coders could recognize which morph they had witnessed, and they observed a degree of matching to the demonstrator's act consistent with simple imitation or object movement reenactment (A learns from watching B how an object, or parts of an object, move). Thus, these capuchins were capable of more complex social learning than has been recently ascribed to monkeys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume113
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999

Keywords

  • ORANGUTANS PONGO-PYGMAEUS
  • CHILDREN HOMO-SAPIENS
  • IMITATION
  • ACQUISITION
  • CHIMPANZEES
  • EVOLUTION

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