Animal Cognition 6 : 259-267

Behavioural development in a matching-to-sample task and token use by an infant chimpanzee reared by his mother

Cláudia Sousa, Sanae Okamoto, Tetsuro Matsuzawa

Abstract

We investigated the behavioural and cognitive development of a captive male infant chimpanzee, Ayumu, raised by his mother, Ai. Here we report Ayumu’s achievements up to the age of 2 years and 3 months, in the context of complex computer-controlled tasks. From soon after birth, Ayumu had been present during an experiment performed by his mother. The task consisted of two phases, a matching-to-sample task in which she received token rewards, and the insertion of these tokens into a vending machine to obtain food rewards. Ayumu himself received no reward or encouragement from humans for any of the actions he exhibited during the experiment. At the age of 9 months and 3 weeks, Ayumu performed his first matching- to-sample trial. At around 1 year and 3 months, he began to perform them consistently. Also during this period, he frequently stole food rewards from his mother. At 2 years and 3 months, Ayumu succeeded for the first time in inserting a token into the vending machine. Once he had succeeded in using a token, he performed both phases of the task in sequence 20 times consecutively. The infant’s behaviour was not shaped by food rewards but by a strong motivation to copy his mother’s behaviour. Our observations of Ayumu thus mirror the learning processes shown by wild chimpanzees.

Keywords

Behavioural development, Matching to sample, Infant chimpanzees, Token use

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Sousa C, Okamoto S, Matsuzawa T (2003) Behavioural development in a matching-to-sample task and token use by an infant chimpanzee reared by his mother Animal Cognition 6 : 259-267 , doi: 10.1007/s10071-003-0186-7