Food calls enhance visual discrimination learning in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus)
MetadataShow full item record
Altmetrics Handle Statistics
Altmetrics DOI Statistics
Social learning is of universal importance to animal life and communication is likely to foster it. How do animals recognise when others produce actions that lead to relevant new information? To address this, we exposed four chimpanzees to an arbitrary learning task, a two-choice visual discrimination paradigm presented on a touch screen that led to food rewards. In each trial, images were paired with one of four acoustic treatments: 1) relevant or 2) irrelevant chimpanzee calls (‘rough grunts’ to food; ‘pant grunts’ to a dominant conspecific), 3) a mechanical noise (hammer knocking sounds) 4) silence. As we were interested in the effect of food calls on learning speed as compared to control stimuli, each chimpanzee was tested with the food call treatment, and one of the three control stimuli (either the pant grunt, mechanical noise or silence condition). We found that learning was significantly enhanced in the contextually correct ‘rough grunt’ condition, suggesting that food calls may play a role in the cultural transmission of food preferences, by priming individuals about a learning opportunity. We discuss these findings and propose that, at least in chimpanzees, the enhancing effect of these vocalisations may be related to the way they affect receivers’ motivational/emotional and attentional systems.
Déaux , E C , Baumeyer , A & Zuberbühler , K 2021 , ' Food calls enhance visual discrimination learning in chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes verus ) ' , Journal of Comparative Psychology , vol. 135 , no. 3 , pp. 420-429 . https://doi.org/10.1037/com0000286
Journal of Comparative Psychology
Copyright © 2021 American Psychological Association. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1037/com0000286
DescriptionThe study was funded by the National Swiss Foundation (grant number: SNF 31003A_166458).
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.