Animal Cognition 3 :1-11

Sequential responding to arabic numerals with wild cards by the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)

Masaki Tomonaga, Tetsuro Matsuzawa

Abstract

One adult female chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) was trained to respond serially to three arabic numerals between 1 and 9, presented on a cathode-ray-tube (CRT) screen. To examine the factors affecting her sequential responding behavior, wild-card items were added to the three-item sequences. When this wild-card item remained until the subject responded to the last numeral (i.e., the terminator condition), her response to the terminator at each point of the sequence was controlled by the ordinal distance between numerals. Thus, the number of responses to the terminator increased as the ordinal distance between numerals increased. When the wild-card item was eliminated by the subject’s response (wild-card conditions), the probability of responses to the wild card before the first numeral increased as a function of the serial position of the first numeral. These results were consistent with previous studies of response time and suggest both serial position and symbolic distance effects. It is suggested that the subject might form the integrated 9-item linear representations by training of possible subsets of three-item sequences. Knowledge concerning the ordinal position of each numeral was established through this training.

Keywords

Sequential responding, Wild cards, Serial position effect, Symbolic distance effect, Chimpanzee(Pan troglodytes)

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Tomonaga M, Matsuzawa T (2000) Sequential responding to arabic numerals with wild cards by the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) Animal Cognition 3 :1-11 , doi: 10.1007/s100710050045