Michael J. Beran, Ph.D.
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September 1, 2021


Beran, M. J., Evans, T. A., Klein, E. D., & Einstein, G. O. (2012). Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) and capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) remember future responses in a computerized task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 38, 233-243.

Planning is an important aspect of many daily activities for humans. Planning involves forming a strategy in anticipation of a future need. However, evidence that nonhuman animals can plan for future situations is limited, particularly in relation to the many other kinds of cognitive capacities that they appear to share with humans. One critical aspect of planning is the ability to remember future responses, or what is called prospective coding. Two monkey species (Macaca mulatta and Cebus apella) performed a series of computerized tasks that required encoding a future response at the outset of each trial. Monkeys of both species showed competence in all tests that were given, providing evidence that they anticipated future responses and that they appropriately engaged in those responses when the time was right for such responses. In addition, some tests demonstrated that monkeys even remembered future responses that were not as presently motivating as were other aspects of the task environment. These results indicated that monkeys could anticipate future responses and retain and implement those responses when appropriate.

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