Animal Cognition

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 393–403 | Cite as

Inferences by exclusion in the great apes: the effect of age and species

Original Article

Abstract

This study investigated the ability of chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and bonobos to make inferences by exclusion using the procedure pioneered by Premack and Premack (Cognition 50:347–362, 1994) with chimpanzees. Thirty apes were presented with two different food items (banana vs. grape) on a platform and covered with identical containers. One of the items was removed from the container and placed between the two containers so that subjects could see it. After discarding this item, subjects could select between the two containers. In Experiment 1, apes preferentially selected the container that held the item that the experimenter had not discarded, especially if subjects saw the experimenter remove the item from the container (but without seeing the container empty). Experiment 3 in which the food was removed from one of the containers behind a barrier confirmed these results. In contrast, subjects performed at chance levels when a stimulus (colored plastic chip: Exp. 1; food item: Exp. 2 and Exp. 3) designated the item that had been removed. These results indicated that apes made inferences, not just learned to use a discriminative cue to avoid the empty container. Apes perceived and treated the item discarded by the experimenter as if it were the very one that had been hidden under the container. Results suggested a positive relationship between age and inferential ability independent of memory ability but no species differences.

Keywords

Inferential reasoning Animal logic Object individuation Behavior control by exclusion Object representation 

References

  1. Barth J, Call J (2006) Tracking the displacement of objects: a series of tasks with great apes and young children. J Exp Psychol: Anim Behav Proc (in press)Google Scholar
  2. Bräuer J, Call J, Tomasello M (2005) All great ape species follow gaze to distant locations and around barriers. J Comp Psychol 119:145–154PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bräuer J, Kaminski J, Riedel J, Call J, Tomasello (2006) Making inferences about the location of hidden food: social dog–causal ape. J Comp Psychol 120:38–47PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Call J (2001) Object permanence in orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), and children (Homo sapiens). J Comp Psychol 115:159–171PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Call J (2004) Inferences about the location of food in the Great Apes (Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla, and Pongo pygmaeus). J Comp Psychol 118:232–241PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Collier-Baker E, Davis JM, Suddendorf T (2004) Do dogs (Canis familiaris) understand invisible displacement? J Comp Psychol 118:421–433PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Collier-Baker E, Davis JM, Nielsen M, Suddendorf T (2006) Do chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) understand single invisible displacement? Anim Cogn 9:55–61PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. de Blois ST, Novak MA, Bond M (1999) Can memory requirements account for species' differences in invisible displacement tasks? J Exp Psychol: Anim Behav Proc 25:168–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Doré FY, Dumas C (1987) Psychology of animal cognition: Piagetian studies. Psychol Bull 102:219–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Doré FY, Fiset S, Goulet S, Dumas MC, Gagnon S (1996) Search behavior in cats and dogs: interspectific differences in working memory and spatial cognition. Anim Learn Behav 24:142–149Google Scholar
  11. Hashiya K, Kojima S (2001) Hearing and auditory–visual intermodal recognition in the chimpanzee. In: Matsuzawa T (ed) Primate origins of human cognition and behavior. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 155–189Google Scholar
  12. Herman LM, Richards DG, Wolz JP (1984) Comprehension of sentences by bottlenosed dolphins. Cognition 16:129–219PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Holm S (1979) A simple sequentially rejective multiple test procedure. Scand J Stat 6:65–70Google Scholar
  14. Kaminski J, Call J, Fischer M (2004) Word learning in a domestic dog: evidence for “fast mapping”. Science 304:1682–1683PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mendes N, Huber L (2004) Object permanence in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). J Comp Psychol 118:103–112PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nissen HW, Blum JS, Blum RA (1948) Analysis of matching behavior in chimpanzees. J Comp Physiol Psychol 41:62–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pepperberg IM, Funk MS (1990) Object permanence in four species of psittacine birds: an African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), an Illiger mimi macaw (Ara maracana), a parakeet (Melopsittacus undulatus), and a cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus). Anim Learn Behav 18:97–108Google Scholar
  18. Povinelli DJ, Rulf AB, Landau KR, Bierschwale DT (1993) Self-recognition in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): distribution, ontogeny, and patterns of emergence. J Comp Psychol 107:347–372PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Premack D (1995) Cause/induced motion: intention/spontaneous motion. In: Changeux JP, Chavaillon J (eds) Origins of the human brain. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 286–308Google Scholar
  20. Premack D, Premack AJ (1994) Levels of causal understanding in chimpanzees and children. Cognition 50:347–362PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Santos LR, Sulkowski GM, Spaepen GM, Hauser MD (2002) Object individuation using property/kind information in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Cognition 83:241–264PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schusterman RJ, Krieger K (1984) California sea lions are capable of semantic comprehension. Psychol Rec 34:3–23Google Scholar
  23. Schusterman RJ, Gisiner R, Grimm BK, Hanggi EB (1993) Behavior control by exclusion and attempts at establishing semanticity in marine mammals using match-to-sample paradigms. In: Roitblat HL, Herman LM, Nachtigall PE (eds) Language and communication: comparative perspectives. Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ, pp 249–274Google Scholar
  24. Spinozzi G (1993) Development of spontaneous classificatory behavior in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Comp Psychol 107:193–200PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tomasello M, Call J (1997) Primate cognition. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Tomonaga M (1993) Tests for control by exclusion and negative stimulus relations of arbitrary matching to sample in a “symmetry-emergent” chimpanzee. J Exp Anal Behav 59:215–229PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Van Der Walle GA, Carey S, Prevor M (2000) Bases for object individuation in infancy: evidence from manual search. J Cogn Dev 1:249–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Watanabe S, Huber L (2006) Animal logics: decisions in the absence of human language. Anim Cogn 9. DOI 10.1007/s10071-006-0043-6Google Scholar
  29. Xu F, Carey S (1996) Infants’ metaphysics: the case of numerical identity. Cogn Psychol 30:111–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary AnthropologyLeipzigGermany

Personalised recommendations