Japanese Psychological Research Volume 39, Issue 3, pages 226–235

Choice Between Two Discrimination Tasks in Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Shuji Suzuki, Tetsuro Matsuzawa

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of cognitive effort on a chimpanzee's choice between discrimination tasks. The tasks were of the matchingto- sample type. In Experiment 1, the chimpanzee was required to choose between a task providing a high reinforcement rate with high cognitive effort and a task providing a low reinforcement rate with low cognitive effort. Her choice depended on the reinforcement rate more than the cognitive effort. Experiments 2, 3, and 4 examined whether the kind of cognitive effort influenced the chimpanzee's choice. Experiment 2 manipulated the sample-choice relationship, so-called symmetry in the matching-to-sample tasks. Experiment 3 manipulated the number of comparison stimuli. Experiment 4 manipulated the delay interval between the sample and the comparison stimuli. In Experiments 2 and 3, the effects of the cognitive effort were confounded with those of the reinforcement rates. However, in one condition of Experiment 4, the chimpanzee preferred the simultaneous task to the delayed task, despite the lack of a significant difference in reinforcement rates between the two tasks. The present study demonstrated that the chimpanzee's choice of discrimination task depended on the cognitive effort involved, in addition to the reinforcement rate.

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Suzuki S, Matsuzawa T (1997) Choice Between Two Discrimination Tasks in Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) Japanese Psychological Research Volume 39, Issue 3, pages 226–235