Exploratory activity was examined in 4 young baboons with the aim of investigating the type of spatial coding (purely geometric and/or by taking into account the identity of the object) used for the configuration of objects. Animals were individually tested in an outdoor enclosure for their exploratory reactions (contact time and order of spontaneous visits) to changes brought about to a configuration of different objects. Two kinds of spatial changes were made: a modification (1) of the shape of the configuration (by displacement of one object) and (2) of the spatial arrangement without changing the initial shape (exchanging the location of two objects). In the second experiment, the effect of a spatial modification of the global geometry constituted by four identical objects was investigated. Finally, in the third experiment, a substitution of a familiar object with a novel one was performed without changing the objects’ configuration. The baboons strongly reacted to geometrical modifications of the configuration. In contrast, they were less sensitive to modifications of local features that did not affect the initial spatial configuration. Analyses of spontaneous exploratory activities revealed two types of exploratory strategies (cyclic and back-and-forth). These data are discussed in relation to (1) the distinction between the encoding of geometric versus local spatial features and (2) the spatial function of exploratory activity.
Berlyne, D. E. (1960).Conflict, arousal, and curiosity. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Brodbeck, D. R. (1994). Memory for spatial and local cues: A comparison of a storing and a nonstoring species.Animal Learning & Behavior,22, 119–133.
Cheal, M. L. (1978). Stimulus-elicited investigation in the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus).Journal of Biological Psychology,20, 26–30.
Cheng, K. (1986). A purely geometric module in the rat’s spatial representation.Cognition,23, 149–178.
Cheng, K. (1987). Rats use the geometry of surfaces for navigation. In P. Ellen & C. Thinus-Blanc (Ed.),Cognitive processes and spatial orientation in animals and man (pp. 153–159). Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff.
Cheng, K., &Gallistel, C. R. (1984). Testing the geometric power of an animal’s spatial representation. In H. L. Roitblat, T. G. Bever, & H. S. Terrace (Eds.),Animal cognition (pp. 409–423). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Corman, C., &Shafer, J. (1968). Open-field activity and exploration.Psychonomic Science,13, 55–56.
Cramer, A., &Gallistel, C. (1997). Vervet monkeys as travelling salesmen.Nature,387, 464.
De Lillo, C., Visalberghi, E., Âversano, M. (1996). The economy of capuchin monkey search behaviour in small- and large-scale environments.Folia Primatologica,67, 2, 64–65.
De Lillo, C., Visalberghi, E., Âversano, M. (1997). The organization of exhaustive searches in a patchy space by capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella).Journal of Comparative Psychology,111, 82–90.
Gaunet, F., &Thinus-Blanc, C. (1996). Early blind animal’s spatial abilities in the locomotor space: A study of exploratory strategies and reaction to change performance.Perception,25, 967–981.
Hermer, L., &Spelke, E. (1994). A geometric process for spatial reorientation in young children.Nature,370, 57–59.
Hermer, L., &Spelke, E. (1996). Modularity and development: The case of spatial reorientation.Cognition,61, 195–232.
Joubert, A., &Vauclair, J. (1986). Reaction to novel objects in a troop of Guinea baboons: Approach and manipulation.Behaviour,96, 92–104.
MacDonald, S. (1994). Gorillas’ (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) spatial memory in a foraging task.Journal of Comparative Psychology,108, 107–113.
MacDonald, S., Pang, J., &Gibeault, S. (1994). Marmoset (Callithrix jacchus jacchus) spatial memory in a foraging task: Win-stay versus win-shift strategies.Journal of Comparative Psychology,108, 328–334.
MacDonald, S., &Wilkie, D. (1990). Yellow-nosed monkeys’ (Cercopithecus ascanius whitesidei) spatial memory in a simulated foraging environment.Journal of Comparative Psychology,104, 382–387.
Menzel, E. W. (1973). Chimpanzee spatial memory organization.Science,182, 943–945.
Menzel, E. W. (1978). Cognitive mapping in chimpanzees. In S. H. Hulse, H. Fowler, & W. K. Honig (Eds.),Cognitive processes in animal behavior (pp. 375–422). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Menzel, E. W., &Menzel, C. R. (1979). Cognitive developmental and social aspects of responsiveness to novel objects in a family group of marmosets (Saguinus fuscicollis).Behavior,70, 251–278.
Neisser, U. (1976).Cognition and reality. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.
O’Keefe, E. W., &Nadel, L. (1978).The hippocampus as a cognitive map. London: Oxford University Press.
Poucet, B., Chapuis, N., Durup, M., &Thinus-Blanc, C. (1986). A study of exploratory behavior as an index of spatial knowledge in hamsters.Animal Learning & Behavior,14, 93–100.
Thinus-Blanc, C., Bouzouba, L., Chaix, K., Chapuis, N., Durup, M., &Poucet, B. (1987). A study of spatial parameters encoded during exploration in hamsters.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes,13, 418–427.
Thinus-Blanc, C., &Gaunet, F. (1998). Spatial processing in animal and man. The two-fold function of spatial representations. In R. G. Golledge (Ed.),Wayfinding: Cognitive mapping and spatial behavior (pp. 294–307). Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.
Tinklepaugh, O. (1932). Multiple delayed reaction with chimpanzees and monkeys.Journal of Comparative Psychology,13, 207–243.
Tolman, E. C. (1948). Cognitive maps in rats and men.Psychological Bulletin,55, 189–208.
Vallortigara, G., Zanforlin, M., &Pasti, G. (1990). Geometric modules in animals’ spatial representations: A test with chicks (Gallus gallus domesticus).Journal of Comparative Psychology,104, 248–254.
This research was supported by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and by the Ministère de l’Education Nationale, de l’Enseignement Supérieure et de la Recherche (Grant 97-5-03224). The authors thank P. Lucciani and all the staff of the Primatology Unit in Rousset (France). In addition, we thank E. Damerose, G. Ferreira, M. Steadt, and P. A. Stis for comments, suggestions, and assistance with the experiments and for useful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.
About this article
Cite this article
Gouteux, S., Vauclair, J. & Thinus-Blanc, C. Reaction to spatial novelty and exploratory strategies in baboons. Animal Learning & Behavior 27, 323–332 (1999). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03199731
- Nonhuman Primate
- Initial Configuration
- Spatial Representation
- Exploratory Activity
- Familiar Object