Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Chimpanzees use observed temporal directionality to learn novel causal relations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Claudio Tennie, Christoph J. Voelter, Victoria Vonau, Daniel Hanus, Josep Call, Michael Tomasello

School/Research organisations

Abstract

We investigated whether chimpanzees use the temporal sequence of external events to determine causation. Seventeen chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) witnessed a human experimenter press a button in two different conditions. When she pressed the “causal button” the delivery of juice and a sound immediately followed (cause-then-effect). In contrast, she pressed the “non-causal button” only after the delivery of juice and sound (effect-then-cause). When given the opportunity to produce the desired juice delivery themselves, the chimpanzees preferentially pressed the causal button, i.e., the one that preceded the effect. Importantly, they did so in their first test trial and even though both buttons were equally associated with juice delivery. This outcome suggests that chimpanzees, like human children, do not rely solely on their own actions to make use of novel causal relations, but they can learn causal sequences based on observation alone. We discuss these findings in relation to the literature on causal inferences as well as associative learning.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalPrimates
VolumeFirst Online
Early online date23 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Sep 2019

    Research areas

  • Causal cognition, Social learning, Chimpanzees, Action representation, Simultaneous conditioning, Primate cognition

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Establishing an infrastructure for collaboration in primate cognition research

    Altschul, D. M., Beran, M. J., Bohn, M., Call, J., DeTroy, S., Duguid, S. J., Egelkamp, C. L., Fichtel, C., Fischer, J., Flessert, M., Hanus, D., Haun, D. B. M., Haux, L. M., Hernandez-Aguilar, R. A., Herrmann, E., Hopper, L. M., Joly, M., Kano, F., Keupp, S., Melis, A. P. & 12 others, Motes Rodrigo, A., Ross, S. R., Sánchez-Amaro, A., Sato, Y., Schmitt, V., Schweinfurth, M. K., Seed, A. M., Taylor, D., Voelter, C. J., Warren, E., Watzek, J. & on behalf of Many Primates, 24 Oct 2019, In : PLoS One. 14, 10, 19 p., e0223675.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Bargaining in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): the effect of cost, amount of gift, reciprocity and communication

    Bueno-Guerra, N., Voelter, C. J., de las Heras, Á., Colell, M. & Call, J., 27 Jun 2019, In : Journal of Comparative Psychology. Online First

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Intuitive optics: what great apes infer from mirrors and shadows

    Völter, C. J. & Call, J., 2 May 2018, In : Animal Cognition. First Online, 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Primates (Journal)

    Josep Call (Member of editorial board)
    2012 → …

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

Related by journal

  1. Intra-community infanticide in wild, eastern chimpanzees: a 24 year review

    Lowe, A. E., Hobaiter, C., Asiimwe, C., Zuberbuhler, K. & Newton-Fisher, N. E., 27 May 2019, In : Primates. First Online, 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Maternal cannibalism in two populations of wild chimpanzees

    Fedurek, P., Tkaczynski, P., Asiimwe, C., Hobaiter, C., Samuni, L., Lowe, A. E., Dijrian, A. G., Zuberbühler, K., Wittig, R. M. & Crockford, C., 5 Oct 2019, In : Primates. First Online, 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Cumulative culture in nonhumans: overlooked findings from Japanese monkeys?

    Schofield, D. P., McGrew, W. C., Takahashi, A. & Hirata, S., Mar 2018, In : Primates. 59, 2, p. 113-122 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  4. First observation of Dorylus ant feeding in Budongo chimpanzees supports absence of stick-tool culture

    Mugisha, S., Zuberbuehler, K. & Hobaiter, C., Jul 2016, In : Primates. 57, 3, p. 389-394 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 261103642

Top