The ability of black and brown lemurs (Eulemur macaco and Eulemur fulvus) to make inferences about hidden food was tested using the same paradigm as in Call’s (J Comp Psycol 118:232–241, 2004) cup task experiment. When provided with either visual or auditory information about the content of two boxes (one empty, one baited), lemurs performed better in the auditory condition than in the visual one. When provided with visual or auditory information only about the empty box, one subject out of four was above chance in the auditory condition, implying inferential reasoning. No subject was successful in the visual condition. This study reveals that (1) lemurs are capable of inferential reasoning by exclusion and (2) lemurs make better use of auditory than visual information. The results are compared with the performances recorded in apes and monkeys under the same paradigm.
Cognition Inferential reasoning Visual information Auditory information Lemurs
We thank Dr. JR Anderson for careful reading of the manuscript and correction of English and to C. Bloquel for inter-observer reliability. We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the manuscript. The authors assert that the experiments comply with the current French laws. They declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Aust U, Range F, Steurer M, Huber L (2008) Inferential reasoning by exclusion in pigeons, dogs and humans. Anim Cogn 11:587–597PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Call J (2004) Inferences about the location of food in the great apes (Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla, and Pongo pygmaeus). J Comp Psychol 118:232–241PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Erdöhegyi A, Viranvi Z, Miklosi A (2007) Dog-logic: inferential reasoning in a two-way choice task and its restricted use. Anim Behav 75:725–737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Genty E, Roeder JJ (2006) Can lemurs learn to deceive? A study in the black lemur (Eulemur macaco). J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process 32(2):196–200Google Scholar
Genty E, Roeder JJ (2007) Transfer of self-control in black (Eulemur macaco) and brown (Eulemur fulvus) lemurs: choice of a less-preferred food item under a reverse-reward contingency. J Comp Psychol 121:354–362PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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 Eulemur macaco. Anim Behav 67:925–932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Genty E, Foltz J, Roeder JJ (2008) Can brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus) learn to deceive a human competitor? Anim Cogn 11:255–266PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gosset D, Roeder JJ (2001) Factors affecting feeding decision in a group of black lemurs confronted with novel food. Primates 42:175–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gosset D, Fornasieri I, Roeder JJ (2003) Acoustic structure and contexts of emission of vocal signals by black lemurs. Evol Com 4:225–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heimbauer LA, Antworth RL, Owren MJ (2011) Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) use positive, but not negative auditory cues to infer food location. Anim Cogn 15:45–55PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar