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An experimental investigation of referential looking in free-ranging barbary macaques (Macaca Sylvanus).

By Samuel G B Roberts, Karen McComb and Ted Ruffman


The authors examined looking behavior between 15 Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) infants and their mothers in the presence of a rubber snake (experimental period) and in the absence of the snake (control period). Two of the 15 infants looked referentially at their mother in the experimental period. Including both referential and nonreferential looks, the six older infants (aged 5 to 12 months) displayed a higher frequency of looks to mother than nine younger infants (aged 3 to 4.5 months) in the experimental period, but not in the control period. Older infants looked more to the mother in the experimental condition, whereas the younger infants looked more to the mother in the control condition, or looked equally in the two conditions. These results suggest that age is an important factor in determining looking behavior to mother in situations of uncertainty. Compared to hand-reared chimpanzees or human infants tested in standard social referencing paradigms, the infant macaques displayed a low rate of referential looking. Possible explanations for this are discussed

Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1037/0735-7036.122.1.94
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