Advertisement

Animal Cognition

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 963–969 | Cite as

Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) let lesser rewards pass them by to get better rewards

  • Jessica L. Bramlett
  • Bonnie M. Perdue
  • Theodore A. Evans
  • Michael J. Beran
Original Paper

Abstract

Self-control is defined as foregoing an immediate reward to gain a larger delayed reward. Methods used to test self-control comparatively include inter-temporal choice tasks, delay of gratification tasks, and accumulation tasks. To date, capuchin monkeys have shown different levels of self-control across tasks. This study introduced a new task that could be used comparatively to measure self-control in an intuitive context that involved responses that required no explicit training. Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) were given a choice between two food items that were presented on a mechanized, revolving tray that moved those foods sequentially toward the monkeys. A monkey could grab the first item or wait for the second, but was only allowed one item. Most monkeys in the study waited for a more highly preferred food item or a larger amount of the same food item when those came later, and they inhibited the prepotent response to grab food by not reaching out to take less-preferred foods or smaller amounts of food that passed directly in front of them first. These data confirm that the mechanisms necessary for self-control are present in capuchin monkeys and indicate that the methodology can be useful for broader comparative assessments of self-control.

Keywords

Capuchin monkeys Cebus apella Self-control Delay of gratification 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by Grant HD-060563 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and by Grant BCS-0924811 from the National Science Foundation. The authors thank Betty Chan and Emilie Menzel for their assistance with this project. All applicable institutional rules and regulations regarding animal care and use were followed in the care and testing of the monkeys, and the experiment complied with all laws of the United States of America.

References

  1. Addessi E, Rossi S (2011) Tokens improve capuchin performance in the reverse-reward contingency task. Proc Biol Sci 278:849–854PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Addessi E, Paglieri F, Focaroli V (2011) The ecological rationality of delay tolerance: insights from capuchin monkeys. Cognition 119:142–147PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ainslie GW (1974) Impulse control in pigeons. J Exp Anal Behav 21:485–489PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Amici F, Aurelli F, Call J (2008) Fission-fusion dynamics, behavioral flexibility, and inhibitory control in primates. Curr Biol 18:1415–1419PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson JR, Awazu S, Fujita K (2000) Can squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) learn self-control: a study using food array selection tests and reverse-reward contingency. J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Proc 26:87–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Anderson JR, Hattori Y, Fujita K (2008) Quality before quantity: rapid learning of reverse-reward contingency by capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). J Comp Psychol 122:445–448PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Anderson JR, Kuroshima H, Fujita K (2010) Delay of gratification in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) and squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus). J Comp Psychol 124:205–210PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beran MJ (2002) Maintenance of self-imposed delay of gratification by four chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and an orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). J Gen Psychol 129:49–66PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beran MJ, Evans TA (2006) Maintenance of delay of gratification by four chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): the effects of delayed reward visibility, experimenter presence, and extended delay intervals. Behav Proc 73:315–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Beran MJ, Evans TA, Leighty KA, Harris EH, Rice D (2008) Summation and quantity judgments of sequentially presented sets by capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Am J Primatol 70:191–194PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Boysen ST, Berntson GG (1995) Responses to quantity: perceptual versus cognitive mechanisms in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Proc 21:82–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Boysen ST, Berntson GG, Hannan MB, Cacioppo JT (1996) Quantity-based interference and symbolic representations in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Proc 22:76–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dufour V, Pelé M, Sterck EHM, Thierry B (2007) Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) anticipation of food return: coping with waiting time in an exchange task. J Comp Psychol 121:145–155PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Evans TA, Beran MJ (2007) Delay of gratification and delay maintenance by rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). J Gen Psychol 134:199–216PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Evans TA, Westergaard GC (2006) Self-control and tool use in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). J Comp Psychol 120:163–166PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Evans TA, Beran MJ, Harris EH, Rice D (2009) Quantity judgments of sequentially presented food items by capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Anim Cogn 12:97–105PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Evans TA, Beran MJ, Paglieri F, Addessi E (2012) Delaying gratification for food and tokens in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): when quantity is salient, symbolic stimuli do not improve performance. Anim Cogn. doi: 10.1007/s10071-012-0482-1
  18. Genty E, Palmier C, Roeder JJ (2004) Learning to suppress responses to the larger of two rewards in two species of lemurs (Eulemur fulvus and E. macaco). Anim Behav 67:925–932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grosch J, Neuringer A (1981) Self-control in pigeons under the Mischel paradigm. J Exp Anal Behav 35:3–21PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kralik JD (2005) Inhibitory control and response selection in problem solving: how cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) overcome a bias for selecting the larger quantity of food. J Comp Psychol 119:78–89PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Logue AW (1988) Research on self-control: an integrating framework. Behav Brain Sci 1:665–709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pelé M, Dufour V, Micheletta J, Thierry B (2010) Long-tailed macaques display unexpected waiting abilities in exchange tasks. Anim Cogn 13:263–271PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pelé M, Micheletta J, Uhlrich P, Thierry B, Dufour V (2011) Delay maintenance in tonkean macaques and brown capuchin monkeys. Int J Primatol 32:149–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rachlin H, Green L (1972) Commitment, choice, and self-control. J Exp Anal Behav 48:347–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ramseyer A, Pele M, Dufour V, Chauvin C, Theirry B (2006) Accepting loss: the temporal limits of reciprocity in brown capuchin monkeys. Proc Royal Soc Lond B 273:179–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rosati AG, Stevens JR, Hauser MD (2006) The effect of handling time on temporal discounting in two new world primates. Anim Behav 71:1379–1387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rosati AG, Stevens JR, Hare B, Hauser MD (2007) The evolutionary origins of human patience: temporal preferences in chimpanzees, bonobos, and human adults. Curr Biol 17:1663–1668PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tobin H, Chelonis JJ, Logue AW (1993) Choice in self-control paradigms using rats. Psychol Rec 43:441–454Google Scholar
  29. Tobin H, Logue AW, Chelonis JJ, Ackerman KT, May JG (1996) Self-control in the monkey Macaca fascicularis. Anim Learn Behav 24:168–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. van Haaren F, van Hest A, Van de Poll NE (1988) Self-control in male and female rats. J Exp Anal Behav 49:201–211PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica L. Bramlett
    • 1
  • Bonnie M. Perdue
    • 1
  • Theodore A. Evans
    • 1
  • Michael J. Beran
    • 1
  1. 1.Language Research CenterGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations