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The organization of exhaustive searches in a patchy space by Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)

By Carlo De Lillo, Elisabetta Visalberghi and Marco Aversano


This article was published as Journal of comparative psychology, 1997, Vol.111, No.1, pp.82-90. It is available from :\ud http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/com/111/1/Metadata only entrySearch is a serial exploration of alternatives. Efficient search involves the ability to minimize costs (i.e., time/energy) and to keep track of alternatives already explored. The search abilities of 4 capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) were evaluated by means of an apparatus featuring a set of suspended baited containers. The experiment featured conditions with different spatial configurations of the search space. Results show that the monkeys were able to search exhaustively 9 containers spatially distributed either as a 3 × 3 matrix or as 3 "patches" of 3 containers each. Search efficiency was higher in a search space suitable to organization in clusters or spatial chunks. In this condition, evidence for principled organization of search trajectories, as opposed to a random walk through the search space, emerges clearly and parallels search efficiency. This suggests that monkeys impose a structure over the search space and, by doing so, reduce the memory demands of the task. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved

Publisher: American Psychological Association
Year: 1997
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7543
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