Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) gaze following in the informed forager paradigm : analysis with cross correlations
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I tested two pairs of captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the informed forager paradigm: a subordinate saw the location of hidden bait, and then searched with a naïve dominant. This paradigm has tested what subjects know about others’ states of knowledge, but my focus was to determine how subjects used different movement types and different gaze types to modify their competitive tactics. In particular, I investigated whether chimpanzees follow opponents’ gaze to gain information. Learning more about how primates use visual information to predict others’ behaviour can shed light on the continuing debate over to what degree apes possess theory of mind capacities. Previous published studies in this paradigm included narratives of ignorant competitors exploiting informed subjects by following their movement and gaze, and informed subjects avoided this exploitation by walking away from hidden food. The subordinate’s behaviour can be considered tactical deception, which is a good place to seek strong evidence of second-order intentionality. Analyses with descriptive statistics, however, fail to capture the complexity of these interactions, which range from single decision-making points to larger patterns of following and misleading. I introduced a novel method of statistical analysis, cross correlations, that enabled me to examine behavioural patterns quantitatively that previous authors have only been able to describe in narrative form. Though previous studies on chimpanzees’ understanding of gaze found that they were unable to use (human-given) gaze cues to locate hidden food, the subjects I tested followed their conspecific opponent’s gaze, and used information gained from the gaze interaction to modify their own movement towards the hidden bait. Dominants adjusted their physical following of the subordinates as the interaction progressed, which reflected their changed states of knowledge. Subordinates used their movement and gaze differentially to manipulate dominants’ behaviour, by withholding information and by recruiting towards a less-preferred bait.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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