Animal Cognition

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 55–62

Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) respond to video images of themselves


    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Stirling
  • Hika Kuroshima
    • Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Georgia
  • Annika Paukner
    • Laboratory of Comparative EthologyNIH Animal Center
  • Kazuo Fujita
    • Department of Psychology, Graduate School of LettersKyoto University
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10071-008-0170-3

Cite this article as:
Anderson, J.R., Kuroshima, H., Paukner, A. et al. Anim Cogn (2009) 12: 55. doi:10.1007/s10071-008-0170-3


Many studies have used mirror-image stimulation in attempts to find self-recognition in monkeys. However, very few studies have presented monkeys with video images of themselves; the present study is the first to do so with capuchin monkeys. Six tufted capuchin monkeys were individually exposed to live face-on and side-on video images of themselves (experimental Phase 1). Both video screens initially elicited considerable interest. Two adult males looked preferentially at their face-on image, whereas two adult females looked preferentially at their side-on image; the latter elicited lateral movements and head-cocking. Only males showed communicative facial expressions, which were directed towards the face-on screen. In Phase 2 monkeys discriminated between real-time, face-on images and identical images delayed by 1 s, with the adult females especially preferring real-time images. In this phase both screens elicited facial expressions, shown by all monkeys. In Phase 3 there was no evidence of discrimination between previously recorded video images of self and similar images of a familiar conspecific. Although they showed no signs of explicit self-recognition, the monkeys’ behaviour strongly suggests recognition of the correspondence between kinaesthetic information and external visual effects. In species such as humans and great apes, this type of self-awareness feeds into a system that gives rise to explicit self-recognition.


CapuchinVideoMirrorSelf-recognitionSelf-awarenessVisual preferenceFacial expressions

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008