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:2/21/2017)... and PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. ... the Avamere Family of Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity ... a six-month research study that will apply the power ... at senior living and health centers. By analyzing data ... to gain insights into physical and environmental conditions, and ...
(Date:2/13/2017)... 13, 2017  RSA Conference -- RSA, a Dell ... designed to enhance fraud detection and investigation across ... RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence Suite. The new ... additional insights from internal and external sources as ... their customers from targeted cybercrime attacks. ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... Feb. 8, 2017 About Voice Recognition Biometrics ... match it against a stored voiceprint template. Acoustic ... cadence, and tone are compared to distinguish between ... installation, as most PCs already have a microphone ... Voice recognition biometrics are most likely to be ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... March 24, 2017 Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ("Sinovac" or the ... China , today announced that its board of directors ... of the plan from March 27, 2017 to March 27, 2018. The ... About Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ... Sinovac Biotech Ltd. is a ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... MA (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... “a viscoelastic material that exhibits both viscous and elastic characteristics when deformed, which ... disc polymer exhibits properties to gently absorb compressive forces and return to its ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017  SeraCare Life Sciences, Inc., a ... vitro diagnostics manufacturers and clinical laboratories, is ... multiplexed Inherited Cancer reference material ... next-generation sequencing (NGS). The Seraseq™ Inherited Cancer DNA ... from industry experts to validate the ability ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- Kineta, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on ... today announced the discovery and characterization of several ... interferon response factor 3 (IRF3) via RIG-I like ... in a murine colon carcinoma mouse model.  Furthermore, ... regression to initial drug treatment were resistant to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: