Animal Learning & Behavior

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 168–174 | Cite as

Self-control in the monkeymacaca fascicularis

  • Henry Tobin
  • A. W. Logue
  • John J. Chelonis
  • Kimberly T. Ackerman
  • Jack G. May


Two experiments tested two cynomolgus monkeys’ self-control—choice of a longer, more delayed reinforcer over a shorter, less delayed reinforcer. In Experiment 1, subjects exhibited significant selfcontrol in a procedure in which reinforcer amounts and delays were held constant throughout a condition. In Experiment 2, subjects exhibited significantly greater sensitivity to variation in reinforcer amount than to variation in reinforcer delay in a procedure in which the reinforcer delay associated with the self-control alternative was adjusted until each macaque was indifferent between the two alternatives. Both experiments indicated that, in laboratory paradigms in which humans show self-control and pigeons and rats show impulsiveness, macaques show self-control. These results are inconsistent with the hypothesis that species differences in self-control are a function of language ability or of specific types of prior training. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that species differences in self-control are related to the ratio of brain size to body weight (a possible indicator of general cognitive ability) or to shared phylogeny.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Tobin
    • 1
  • A. W. Logue
    • 1
  • John J. Chelonis
    • 1
  • Kimberly T. Ackerman
    • 1
  • Jack G. May
    • 6
  1. 1.State University of New YorkStony Brook
  2. 2.School of Liberal Arts and Sciences-A1620Baruch CollegeNew York
  3. 3.Cold Springer Harbor LaboratoryBeckman Neuroscience CenterUSA
  4. 4.Bourne LaboratoryThe New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center Westchester DivisionUSA
  5. 5.California School of Professional Psychology-Los AngelesUSA
  6. 6.Tallahassee Pain and Stress Management InstituteTallahassee

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