Animal Cognition

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 267–271

Gaze alternation during “pointing” by squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus)?

  • James R. Anderson
  • Hiroko Kuwahata
  • Kazuo Fujita
Original Paper

Abstract

Gaze alternation (GA) is considered a hallmark of pointing in human infants, a sign of intentionality underlying the gesture. GA has occasionally been observed in great apes, and reported only anecdotally in a few monkeys. Three squirrel monkeys that had previously learned to reach toward out-of-reach food in the presence of a human partner were videotaped while the latter visually attended to the food, a distractor object, or the ceiling. Frame-by-frame video analysis revealed that, especially when reaching toward the food, the monkeys rapidly and repeatedly switched between looking at the partner’s face and the food. This type of GA suggests that the monkeys were communicating with the partner. However, the monkeys’ behavior was not influenced by changes in the partner’s focus of attention.

Keywords

Gaze alternation Squirrel monkeys Pointing Attention Communication 

References

  1. Anderson JR, Kuroshima H, Kuwahata H, Fujita K, Vick S-J (2001) Training squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) to deceive: Acquisition and analysis of behavior toward cooperative and competitive trainers. J Comp Psychol 115:282–293PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bates E, Camaioni L, Volterra V (1975) The acquisition of preformatives prior to speech. Merrill-Palmer Quart 21:205–226Google Scholar
  3. Blaschke M, Ettlinger G (1987) Pointing as an act of social communication by monkeys. Anim Behav 35:1520–1523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Call J, Tomasello M (1994) The production and comprehension of referential pointing by orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus). J Comp Psychol 108:307–317PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Franco F, Butterworth G (1996) Pointing and social awareness: declaring and requesting in the second year. J Child Lang 23:307–336PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gomez J-C (1996) Ostensive behavior in great apes: the role of eye contact. In: Russon AE, Bard KA, Parker ST (eds) Reaching into thought: the minds of the great apes. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 131–151Google Scholar
  7. Hess M, Novak MA, Povinelli DJ (1993) ‘Natural pointing’ in a rhesus monkey, but no evidence of empathy. Anim Behav 46: 1023–1025CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kumashiro M, Ishibashi H, Itakura S, Iriki A (2002) Bidirectional communication between a Japanese monkey and a human through eye gaze and pointing. Curr Psychol Cogn 21:3–32Google Scholar
  9. Krause MA, Fouts RS (1997) Chimpanzee pointing: hand shapes, accuracy, and the role of eye gaze. J Comp Psychol 111:330–336PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Leavens DA, Hopkins WD, Bard KA (1996) Indexical and referential pointing in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Comp Psychol 110:346–353PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Leavens DA, Hopkins WD (1999) The whole-hand point: the structure and function of pointing from a comparative perspective. J Comp Psychol 113:417–425PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Leavens DA, Russell JL, Hopkins WD (2005) Intentionality as measured in the persistence and elaboration of communication by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Child Develop 76:291–306PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Liszkowski U, Carpenter M, Henning A, Striano T, Tomasello M (2004) Twelve-month-olds point to share attention and interest. Develop Sci 7:297–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mitchell RW, Anderson JR (1997) Pointing, withholding information, and deception in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). J Comp Psychol 111:351–361PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Povinelli DJ, Theall LA, Reaux JE, Dunphy-Lelii S (2003) Chimpanzees spontaneously alter the location of their gestures to match the attentional orientation of others. Anim Behav 66:71–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • James R. Anderson
    • 1
  • Hiroko Kuwahata
    • 2
  • Kazuo Fujita
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Graduate School of LetterKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations