Picture processing in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)


  • Truppa Valentina
  • Spinozzi Giovanna
  • Stegagno Tommaso
  • Fagot Joël

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Although pictures are frequently used in place of real objects to investigate various aspects of cognition in different non-human species, there is little evidence that animals treat pictorial stimuli as representations of the real objects. In the present study, we carried out four experiments designed to assess picture processing in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), using a simultaneous Matching-to-Sample (MTS) task. The results of the first three experiments indicate that capuchins are able to match objects with their colour photographs and vice versa, and that object-picture matching in this New World monkey species is not due to picture-object confusion. The results of the fourth experiment show that capuchins are able to recognize objects in their pictures with a high level of accuracy even when less realistic images, such as black-and-white photographs, silhouettes and line drawings, are employed as bi-dimensional stimuli. Overall, these findings indicate that capuchin monkeys are able to establish a correspondence between the real objects and their pictorial representations. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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