Imitation of intentional manipulatory actions in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)
Masako Myowa-Yamakoshi, Tetsuro Matsuzawa
In this study, the authors investigated the understanding of other's actions in 5 adult chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). A human demonstrated an attempt to open different containers. Each container required a different motor pattern to open it. Along with the container, a 2nd object was made available. After a free play period in which the chimpanzees' natural behaviors toward the objects were recorded, the authors tested the following 2 phases: The demonstrator (a) tried but failed to open and (b) opened the container successfully, with 1 of 2 alternative strategies, either using an "irrelevant tool" or by hand. The chimpanzees did not reproduce the demonstrator's motor patterns precisely but did reproduce the demonstrated strategies in both phases. These results suggest that chimpanzees anticipate the intentions of others by perceiving the directionality and causality of object(s) as available cues.