Abstract # 2163:

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Picture Recognition of Food in Brown Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus apella)

L. B. Kurdziel and P. G. Judge
Bucknell University, Psychology Department and Animal Behavior Program, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA
     Photographic images are often used in experiments to test a subject’s responses to objects or animals. An assumption is that the two-dimensional image is recognized as a representation of the three-dimensional item depicted; however, this assumption is rarely tested. We tested for picture recognition in six brown capuchin monkeys by presenting them with images of familiar foods. After assessing preferences among the large number of foods in their diet, we trained them to select their preferred food from a pair of images presented on a touch screen in order to receive a corresponding piece of food. After training animals to select their preferred foods on one set of images, we presented them with images of a second set of familiar foods they had never viewed as images. As in training, we presented pairs of images and provided them with a piece of the food that they touched on the screen. On the second set of foods, three capuchins spontaneously selected images of their preferred foods significantly more than expected [Binomial Sign Test, a=0.05]. Three others did not transfer their tendency to select images of preferred food to the second set of foods. Results indicated that capuchin monkeys recognized digitized images of foods as the items represented, but not all animals displayed this capacity. Such individual differences should be considered before testing animals with photographic images.