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Caged rhesus macaques voluntarily work for ordinary food

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Eight single-caged adult rhesus macaques were given the choice of freely collecting their standard food ration, i.e. 33 biscuits, from an ordinary food box or working for its retrieval from a custom-made food puzzle. During a one-hour observation session following the simultaneous distribution of biscuits in both feeders, individuals spent on average a total of 32 sec retrieving 29.0 biscuits from the food box, and 673 sec retrieving 11.3 biscuits from the food puzzle. It was inferred that the animals voluntarily worked for ordinary food, with the expression of foraging activities serving as its own reward.

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Reinhardt, V. Caged rhesus macaques voluntarily work for ordinary food. Primates 35, 95–98 (1994).

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