Do capuchin monkeys, Cebus apella, know what conspecifics do and do not see?
Capuchin monkeys were tested in five experiments in which two individuals competed over food. When given a choice between retrieving a piece of food that was visible or hidden from the dominant, subordinate animals preferred to retrieve hidden food. This preference is consistent with the hypotheses that either (1) the subordinate knew what the dominant could and could not see or (2) the subordinate was monitoring the behaviour of the dominant and avoiding the piece of food that it approached. To test between these alternatives, we released subordinates with a slight head start forcing them to make their choice (between a piece of food hidden or visible to the dominant) before the dominant entered the area. Unlike chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, subordinates that were given a head start did not preferentially approach hidden pieces of food first. Therefore, our experiments provide little support for the hypothesis that capuchin monkeys are sensitive to what another individual does or does not see. We compare our results with those obtained with chimpanzees in the same paradigm and discuss the evolution of primate social cognition. © 2003 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Hare, B; Addessi, E; Call, J; Tomasello, M; Visalberghi, E
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