Michael J. Beran, Ph.D.
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Last updated: 
September 1, 2021

 

 

Beran, M. J., Beran, M. M., & Menzel, C. R. (2005). Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) use markers to monitor the movement of a hidden food item. Primates, 46, 255-259.

Four chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) monitored the movement of hidden items in arrays of opaque cups. A chocolate candy was hidden in an array of four cups and temporarily presented paper markers indicated the location of the candy (which otherwise was not visible). These markers were either non-symbolic or symbolic (lexigram) stimuli that in other contexts acted as a label for the hidden candy, and the array was either rotated 180 degrees after the marker was removed or the array remained in the same location. For three of four chimpanzees, performance was better than chance in all conditions and there was no effect of the type of marker. These experiments indicate that chimpanzees can track the movement of a hidden item in an array of identical cups even when they never see the item itself, but only see a temporarily presented marker for the location of that item. However, there was no benefit to the use of symbolic as opposed to non-symbolic stimuli in this performance.

 

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