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How monkeys acquire a new way of seeing

By Nicholas K Humphrey and Graham R Keeble


In an experiment on perceptual learning, monkeys were given the opportunity to watch on television the 'private behaviour' of another monkey (whcih did not know it was being watched). The subjects were shown monkey X for twenty sessions in a row, followed by monkey Y for twenty sessions, followed by monkey X again for twenty sessions. The subjects' 'interest' in the stimulus monkey remained roughly level within each block of twenty sessions, but increased in a step-like way at the changeover from X to Y, and again from Y to X. These results are interpreted as evidence that the subects gained little or no extra insight into the nature of private behaviour through watching the same monkey in successive sessions; the critical factor in their perceptual education was the comparison between one monkey's behaviour and another's

Topics: Animal Cognition, Developmental Psychology, Perceptual Cognitive Psychology
Year: 1976
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