Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) respond to video images of themselves
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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.
KeywordsCapuchin Video Mirror Self-recognition Self-awareness Visual preference Facial expressions
This study was supported by JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research nos. 13410026 and 17300085 to KF and 21st-Century COE Program, D-10 to Kyoto University, and by awards from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation to JRA. This study complied with Kyoto University’s Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Primates.
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