Perception of shape from shading in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and humans (Homo sapiens)
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The perception of shape from shading was tested in two chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and five humans (Homo sapiens), using visual search tasks. Subjects were required to select and touch an odd item (target) from among uniform distractors. Humans found the target faster when shading was vertical than when it was horizontal, consistent with results of previous research. Both chimpanzees showed the opposite pattern: they found the target faster when shading was horizontal. The same difference in response was found in texture segregation tasks. This difference between the species could not be explained by head rotation or head shift parallel to the surface of the monitor. Furthermore, when the shaded shape was changed from a circle to a square, or the shading type was changed from gradual to stepwise, the difference in performance between vertical and horizontal shading disappeared in chimpanzees, but persisted in humans. These results suggest that chimpanzees process shading information in a different way from humans.
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