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Insights into Intraspecies Variation in Primate Prosocial Behavior: Capuchins (Cebus apella) Fail to Show Prosociality on a Touchscreen Task.

Drayton LA, Santos LR - Behav Sci (Basel) (2014)

Bottom Line: In contrast to previous studies, we found that capuchins as a group did not prosocially deliver food to a partner.We also compared individuals' performance in the current study with their performance in a previously published prosociality study.We conclude by discussing how continuing to explore intraspecies variation in performance on prosocial tasks may help inform debates regarding the existence of other-regarding preferences in nonhuman species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Yale University, 2 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; E-Mail: lindsey.drayton@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT
Over the past decade, many researchers have used food donation tasks to test whether nonhuman primates show human-like patterns of prosocial behavior in experimental settings. Although these tasks are elegant in their simplicity, performance within and across species is difficult to explain under a unified theoretical framework. Here, we attempt to better understand variation in prosociality by examining the circumstances that promote and hinder the expression of prosocial preferences. To this end, we tested whether capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)-a species that has previously demonstrated prosocial preferences-would behave prosocially using a novel touchscreen task. In contrast to previous studies, we found that capuchins as a group did not prosocially deliver food to a partner. Importantly however, data from control conditions revealed that subjects demonstrated limited understanding of the reward contingencies of the task. We also compared individuals' performance in the current study with their performance in a previously published prosociality study. We conclude by discussing how continuing to explore intraspecies variation in performance on prosocial tasks may help inform debates regarding the existence of other-regarding preferences in nonhuman species.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

The schematic on the left (A) illustrates the testing setup in conditions in which the actor had access to both the cup on the right and the cup on the left (i.e., selfish training sessions and selfish control sessions). The adjacent chamber was always empty. The schematic on the right (B) illustrates the testing setup in conditions in which the actor had access to only the cup on the left. The adjacent chamber was either empty (i.e., empty training sessions and empty control sessions) or contained the recipient monkey (i.e., prosocial test sessions).
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behavsci-04-00087-f001: The schematic on the left (A) illustrates the testing setup in conditions in which the actor had access to both the cup on the right and the cup on the left (i.e., selfish training sessions and selfish control sessions). The adjacent chamber was always empty. The schematic on the right (B) illustrates the testing setup in conditions in which the actor had access to only the cup on the left. The adjacent chamber was either empty (i.e., empty training sessions and empty control sessions) or contained the recipient monkey (i.e., prosocial test sessions).

Mentions: The testing apparatus consisted of a 15-inch touchscreen monitor on a mobile cart (Figure 1). Transparent tubes (1.5 inch diameter) were attached to the left and right sides of the testing apparatus, allowing the experimenter to deliver food rewards (Kix brand breakfast cereal) to the actor and/or recipient monkey from behind the cart. Food rewards were delivered into a yellow cup that was placed at the end of one tube and a blue cup that was placed at the end of the other tube. The actor always had access to rewards in the yellow cup; however, depending upon the condition (see Procedure section), the actor, the receiver, or no one had access to the rewards in the blue cup. In conditions in which the actor had access to both cups, the two cups were attached to the front of the cart within reaching distance of the actor (Figure 1A). In conditions in which the actor had access to the yellow cup only, the yellow cup was attached to the front of the cart but the blue cup was only accessible through the adjacent testing chamber (Figure 1B), which could either be empty or contain the recipient monkey. At the beginning of each session, the cart was placed in front of the actor monkey, allowing him or her to interact with the touchscreen through a 13.5 × 15 inch testing window.


Insights into Intraspecies Variation in Primate Prosocial Behavior: Capuchins (Cebus apella) Fail to Show Prosociality on a Touchscreen Task.

Drayton LA, Santos LR - Behav Sci (Basel) (2014)

The schematic on the left (A) illustrates the testing setup in conditions in which the actor had access to both the cup on the right and the cup on the left (i.e., selfish training sessions and selfish control sessions). The adjacent chamber was always empty. The schematic on the right (B) illustrates the testing setup in conditions in which the actor had access to only the cup on the left. The adjacent chamber was either empty (i.e., empty training sessions and empty control sessions) or contained the recipient monkey (i.e., prosocial test sessions).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4219244&req=5

behavsci-04-00087-f001: The schematic on the left (A) illustrates the testing setup in conditions in which the actor had access to both the cup on the right and the cup on the left (i.e., selfish training sessions and selfish control sessions). The adjacent chamber was always empty. The schematic on the right (B) illustrates the testing setup in conditions in which the actor had access to only the cup on the left. The adjacent chamber was either empty (i.e., empty training sessions and empty control sessions) or contained the recipient monkey (i.e., prosocial test sessions).
Mentions: The testing apparatus consisted of a 15-inch touchscreen monitor on a mobile cart (Figure 1). Transparent tubes (1.5 inch diameter) were attached to the left and right sides of the testing apparatus, allowing the experimenter to deliver food rewards (Kix brand breakfast cereal) to the actor and/or recipient monkey from behind the cart. Food rewards were delivered into a yellow cup that was placed at the end of one tube and a blue cup that was placed at the end of the other tube. The actor always had access to rewards in the yellow cup; however, depending upon the condition (see Procedure section), the actor, the receiver, or no one had access to the rewards in the blue cup. In conditions in which the actor had access to both cups, the two cups were attached to the front of the cart within reaching distance of the actor (Figure 1A). In conditions in which the actor had access to the yellow cup only, the yellow cup was attached to the front of the cart but the blue cup was only accessible through the adjacent testing chamber (Figure 1B), which could either be empty or contain the recipient monkey. At the beginning of each session, the cart was placed in front of the actor monkey, allowing him or her to interact with the touchscreen through a 13.5 × 15 inch testing window.

Bottom Line: In contrast to previous studies, we found that capuchins as a group did not prosocially deliver food to a partner.We also compared individuals' performance in the current study with their performance in a previously published prosociality study.We conclude by discussing how continuing to explore intraspecies variation in performance on prosocial tasks may help inform debates regarding the existence of other-regarding preferences in nonhuman species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Yale University, 2 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; E-Mail: lindsey.drayton@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT
Over the past decade, many researchers have used food donation tasks to test whether nonhuman primates show human-like patterns of prosocial behavior in experimental settings. Although these tasks are elegant in their simplicity, performance within and across species is difficult to explain under a unified theoretical framework. Here, we attempt to better understand variation in prosociality by examining the circumstances that promote and hinder the expression of prosocial preferences. To this end, we tested whether capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)-a species that has previously demonstrated prosocial preferences-would behave prosocially using a novel touchscreen task. In contrast to previous studies, we found that capuchins as a group did not prosocially deliver food to a partner. Importantly however, data from control conditions revealed that subjects demonstrated limited understanding of the reward contingencies of the task. We also compared individuals' performance in the current study with their performance in a previously published prosociality study. We conclude by discussing how continuing to explore intraspecies variation in performance on prosocial tasks may help inform debates regarding the existence of other-regarding preferences in nonhuman species.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus