The Performance of Bonobos (Pan paniscus), Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), and Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) in Two Versions of an Object-Choice Task

Nicholas J. Mulcahy*, Josep Call

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The object-choice task tests animals' ability to use human-given cues to find a hidden reward located in I of 2 (or more) containers. Great apes are generally unskillful in this task whereas other species including dogs (Canis familiaris) and goats (Capra hircus) can use human-given cues to locate the reward. However, great apes are typically positioned proximal to the containers when receiving the experimenter's cue whereas other species are invariably positioned distally. The authors investigated how the position of the subject, the human giving the cue and the containers (and the distance among them) affected the performance of 19 captive great apes. Compared to the proximal condition. the distal condition involved larger distances and, critically, it reduced the potential ambiguity of the cues as well as the strong influence that the sight of the containers may have had when subjects received the cue. Subjects were far more successful in the distal compared to the proximal condition. The authors suggest several possibilities to account for this difference and discuss our findings in relation to previous and future object-choice research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-309
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume123
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009

Keywords

  • communication
  • cross-body pointing
  • gaze following
  • experimenter-given cues object-choice task
  • DOLPHINS TURSIOPS-TRUNCATUS
  • EXPERIMENTER-GIVEN CUES
  • HUMAN POINTING GESTURE
  • FOLLOW GAZE DIRECTION
  • YOUNG-CHILDREN
  • COMPREHENSION
  • WOLVES
  • DOGS

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