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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

Images of the four stimuli representing four different food reward outcomes: (A) 1/0; (B) 0/1; (C) 1/1; (D) 0/0.
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behavsci-04-00087-f002: Images of the four stimuli representing four different food reward outcomes: (A) 1/0; (B) 0/1; (C) 1/1; (D) 0/0.

Mentions: All stimuli were presented on the touchscreen using a computer running SuperLab 4.5 software. Four different stimuli were used (see Figure 2), each of which represented a different reward outcome. The first option delivered food only to the yellow cup (1/0). The second delivered food only to the blue cup (0/1). The third delivered food to both cups (1/1), and the forth delivered food to neither cup (0/0). Following previous studies (e.g., Silk et al. [8]) we refer to these throughout the paper as 1/0, 0/1, 1/1, 0/0 throughout the paper. Note that in this nomenclature, the first number represents whether a food reward was delivered to the yellow cup while the second number represents whether a food reward was delivered to the blue cup.


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)

Images of the four stimuli representing four different food reward outcomes: (A) 1/0; (B) 0/1; (C) 1/1; (D) 0/0.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

behavsci-04-00087-f002: Images of the four stimuli representing four different food reward outcomes: (A) 1/0; (B) 0/1; (C) 1/1; (D) 0/0.
Mentions: All stimuli were presented on the touchscreen using a computer running SuperLab 4.5 software. Four different stimuli were used (see Figure 2), each of which represented a different reward outcome. The first option delivered food only to the yellow cup (1/0). The second delivered food only to the blue cup (0/1). The third delivered food to both cups (1/1), and the forth delivered food to neither cup (0/0). Following previous studies (e.g., Silk et al. [8]) we refer to these throughout the paper as 1/0, 0/1, 1/1, 0/0 throughout the paper. Note that in this nomenclature, the first number represents whether a food reward was delivered to the yellow cup while the second number represents whether a food reward was delivered to the blue cup.

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