Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) show subtle signs of uncertainty when choices are more difficult

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Humans can tell when they find a task difficult. Subtle uncertainty behaviors like changes in motor speed and muscle tension precede and affect these experiences. Theories of animal metacognition likewise stress the importance of endogenous signals of uncertainty as cues that motivate metacognitive behaviors. However, while researchers have investigated second-order behaviors like information seeking and declining difficult trials in nonhuman animals, they have devoted little attention to the behaviors that express the cognitive conflict that gives rise to such behaviors in the first place. Here we explored whether three chimpanzees would, like humans, show hand wavering more when faced with more difficult choices in a touch screen transitive inference task. While accuracy was very high across all conditions, all chimpanzees wavered more frequently in trials that were objectively more difficult, demonstrating a signature behavior which accompanies experiences of difficulty in humans. This lends plausibility to the idea that feelings of uncertainty, like other emotions, can be studied in nonhuman animals. We propose to routinely assess uncertainty behaviors to inform models of procedural metacognition in nonhuman animals.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number104766
Number of pages11
JournalCognition
Volume214
Early online date26 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 May 2021

    Research areas

  • Chimpanzees, Epistemic emotions, Feelings of uncertainty, Procedural metacognition, Transitive inference

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Information seeking about tool properties in great apes

    Bohn, M., Allritz, M., Call, J. & Voelter, C. J., 7 Sep 2017, In: Scientific Reports. 7, 10923.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Erratum to “Bonobos and chimpanzees preferentially attend to familiar members of the dominant sex” [Animal Behaviour 177 (2021) 193–206] (Animal Behaviour (2021) 177 (193–206), (S000334722100138X), (10.1016/j.anbehav.2021.04.027))

    Lewis, L. S., Kano, F., Stevens, J. M. G., DuBois, J. G., Call, J. & Krupenye, C., Jul 2021, In: Animal Behaviour. 177, p. 303 1 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

  3. Bonobos and chimpanzees preferentially attend to familiar members of the dominant sex

    Lewis, L. S., Kano, F., Stevens, J. M. G., DuBois, J. G., Call, J. & Krupenye, C., Jul 2021, In: Animal Behaviour. 177, p. 193-206

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Quantitative cognition in carpenter ants

    d'Ettorre, P., Meunier, P., Simonelli, P. & Call, J., 1 May 2021, In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 75, 10 p., 86.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Using natural travel paths to infer and compare primate cognition in the wild

    Janmaat, K. R. L., de Guinea, M., Collet, J., Byrne, R. W., Robira, B., van Loon, E., Jang, H., Biro, D., Ramos-Fernández, G., Ross, C., Presotto, A., Allritz, M., Alavi, S. & Van Belle, S., 23 Apr 2021, In: iScience. 24, 4, 17 p., 102343.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Cognition (Journal)

    Josep Call (Member of editorial board)

    2015 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  2. Cognition (Journal)

    Malinda Carpenter (Editor)

    1 Jul 201331 Dec 2014

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Do doorways really matter: investigating memory benefits of event segmentation in a virtual learning environment

    Logie, M. R. & Donaldson, D. I., Apr 2021, In: Cognition. 209, 104578.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Attentional coordination in demonstrator-observer dyads facilitates learning and predicts performance in a novel manual task

    Pagnotta, M., Laland, K. N. & Coco, M. I., Aug 2020, In: Cognition. 201, 104314.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. A new look at joint attention and common knowledge

    Siposova, B. & Carpenter, M., Aug 2019, In: Cognition. 189, p. 260-274 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Intuitive statistical inferences in chimpanzees and humans follow Weber‘s Law

    Eckert, J., Call, J., Hermes, J., Herrmann, E. & Rakoczy, H., Nov 2018, In: Cognition. 180, p. 99-107 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 274588490

Top