Understanding of the relationship between seeing and knowing by tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)
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The ability of four tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) to recognize the causal connection between seeing and knowing was investigated. The subjects were trained to follow a suggestion about the location of hidden food provided by a trainer who knew where the food was (the knower) in preference to a trainer who did not (the guesser). The experimenter baited one of three opaque containers behind a cardboard screen so that the subjects could not see which of the containers hid the reward. In experiment 1, the knower appeared first in front of the apparatus and looked into each container; next, the guesser appeared but did not look into any containers. Then the knower touched the correct cup while the guesser touched one of the three randomly. The capuchin monkeys gradually learned to reach toward the cup that the knower suggested. In experiment 2, the subjects adapted to a novel variant of the task, in which the guesser touched but did not look into any of the containers. In experiment 3, the monkeys adapted again when the knower and the guesser appeared in a random order. These results suggest that capuchin monkeys can learn to recognize the relationship between seeing and knowing.
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