Inferences about food location in three cercopithecine species : an insight into the socioecological cognition of primates
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Many animal species use a variety of cognitive strategies to locate food resources. One strategy is to make inferences by exclusion, i.e., perceiving the absence of reward as a cue that another location should be investigated. The use of such advanced cognitive strategies may be more prominent in species that are known to frequently solve social challenges, and inferential reasoning has mainly been investigated in social species such as corvids, dogs, dolphins and non-human primates. In this paper, we investigate how far social intricacy may explain the disparity of reasoning performances observed in three cercopithecine species that differ in the density of their social network and the diversity of their social partners. We used standard reasoning tasks, testing the volume concept and inference by exclusion using visual and auditory modalities. We showed that Old World monkeys can infer the location of invisible food by exclusion. In addition, Tonkean macaques and olive baboons had greater performances in most tasks compared to rhesus macaques. These responses are consistent with the social complexity displayed by these three species. We suggest that the cognitive strategies required to navigate through a demanding social world are involved in the understanding of the physical domain.
Petit , O , Dufour , V , Herrenschmidt , M , De Marco , A , Sterck , E H M & Call , J 2015 , ' Inferences about food location in three cercopithecine species : an insight into the socioecological cognition of primates ' Animal Cognition , vol 18 , no. 4 , pp. 821-830 . DOI: 10.1007/s10071-015-0848-2
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015 This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10071-015-0848-2