Navigation Links
Great apes think ahead
Date:6/18/2008

Apes can plan for their future needs just as we humans can by using self-control and imagining future events. Mathias and Helena Osvath's research, from Lunds University Cognitive Science in Sweden, is the first to provide conclusive evidence of advanced planning capacities in non-human species. Their findings are published online this week in Springer's journal, Animal Cognition.

The complex skill of future planning is commonly believed to be exclusive to humans, and has not yet been convincingly established in any living primate species other than our own. In humans, planning for future needs relies heavily on two mental capacities: self-control or the suppression of immediate drives in favor of delayed rewards; and mental time travel or the detached mental experience of a past or future event.

In a series of four experiments, Mathias and Helena Osvath investigated whether chimpanzees and orangutans could override immediate drives in favor of future needs, and therefore demonstrate both self-control and the ability to plan ahead, rather than simply fulfill immediate needs through impulsive behavior.

Two female chimpanzees and one male orangutan, from Lund University Primate Research Station at Furuvik Zoo, were shown a hose and how to use it to extract fruit soup. They were then tempted with their favorite fruit alongside the hose to test their ability to suppress the choice of the immediate reward (favorite fruit) in favor of a tool (the hose) that would lead to a larger reward 70 minutes later on (the fruit soup). The apes chose the hose more frequently than their favorite fruit suggesting that they are able to make choices in favor of future needs, even when they directly compete with an immediate reward.

New tools the apes had not encountered before were then introduced: one new functional tool which would work in a similar way to the hose, and two distractor objects. The apes consciously chose the new functional tool more often and took it to the reward room later on, where they used it appropriately, demonstrating that they selected the tool based on its functional properties. According to the authors, this indicates that the apes were pre-experiencing a future event i.e. visualizing the use of the new tool to extract the fruit soup.

One of the decisive experiments excluded associative learning* as an explanation of the results. Associative learning has been suggested to account for the findings in previous planning studies on animals (corvids and great apes), and therefore the previous studies have not been generally accepted as evidence for non-human planning.

Taken together these results strongly suggest that great apes engage in planning for the future. The authors conclude that "the results of this study entail that capacities central to humans evolved much earlier than previously believed."


'/>"/>

Contact: Melanie Lehnert
melanie.lehnert@springer.com
49-622-148-78414
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New ballast treatment could protect Great Lakes fish
2. A Great Lakes mystery: The case of the disappearing species
3. Restoring fish populations leads to tough choice for Great Lakes Gulls
4. Woody and aquatic plants pose greatest invasive threat to China
5. Great Ape Trust to gather internationally recognized scientists for Decade of the Mind III
6. Researcher provides tool to enable determination of age of anchovies with greater precision
7. Great Ape Trust signs agreement with Universitas Nasional in Jakarta
8. Barnacles go to great lengths to mate
9. Great apes endangered by human viruses
10. New report finds great potential for Swedish medical technology
11. Great potential to improve collection, recycling of Europes electronic waste, says UN report
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/20/2016)... The rising popularity of mobility services ... stoking significant interest in keyless access systems. Following ... energy (BLE), biometrics and near-field communication (NFC) are ... wireless technologies in the automotive industry. This evolution ... systems opens the market to specialist companies such ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... , Dec. 16, 2016 The global wearable medical ... 12.14 billion by 2021 from USD 5.31 billion in 2016, at ... ... mainly driven by technological advancements in medical devices, launch of a ... preference for wireless connectivity among healthcare providers, and increasing focus on ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... AUBURN HILLS, Mich. , Dec. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... simply unlocking car doors or starting the engine. Continental ... 2017 in Las Vegas . Through ... PASE (Passive Start and Entry) and biometric elements, the ... the field of vehicle personalization and authentication. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... Portland, OR (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 ... ... modules that provide essential device-to-computer interconnect using USB or PCI Express, announced the ... Altera Cyclone V E FPGA into a compact business-card sized form factor suitable ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 18, 2017   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... target cancer stemness pathways, will feature data from two ... the 2017 ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, held from January ... Napabucasin is an orally-administered investigational agent designed ... Cancer stem cells (CSCs) possess the property of ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 18, 2017   Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) ... Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne) , today announced a ... Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Talem Technologies (Talem) as ... technology to assist people living with Duchenne. PPMD ... – an embedded computer, software, a force sensor and ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... , ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... Dr. Dante Leven successfully implanted SpineFrontier’s A-CIFT™ Solofuse-P™. The operation took place on ... Valley Stream, NY. The procedure was an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: