How Social Context, Token Value, and Time Course Affect Token Exchange in Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus apella)

We provided capuchin monkeys with a relatively limited budget of tokens, likely to elicit intragroup competition, and, after an overnight delay, we allowed them to exchange tokens while in a group setting

Elsa Addessi

2010

Scholarcy highlights

  • Numerous studies have examined token-directed behaviors in primates, few have done so in a social context despite the fact that most primate species live in complex groups
  • We aimed to 1) evaluate whether social context affects token-directed behaviors of knowledgeable subjects, i.e., subjects already proficient in token exchange before the present study, as well as of naïve subjects, i.e., subjects that never showed exchange behavior before this study; 2) appraise whether capuchins value tokens; and 3) assess whether capuchins can refrain from throwing tokens outside their enclosure when the experimenter is not present
  • Capuchins were unable to inhibit the exchange of valueless items when the experimenter was soliciting them and, at the group level, knowledgeable subjects did not exchange more valuable tokens than less valuable ones
  • The 3 high-ranking knowledgeable subjects that exchanged most of the tokens first preferentially exchanged more valuable tokens over less valuable or valueless ones

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