Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Task constraints mask great apes' ability to solve the trap-table task

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Antje Girndt, T. Meier, J. Call

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Researchers have investigated animals' causal knowledge with a task requiring subjects to use a tool to bring a reward within reach whilst avoiding a trap. Previous studies have suggested limitations in the ability of several species to avoid traps in tubes or tables. However, certain features may have inflated task difficulty. We tested 20 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), 7 orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), 5 bonobos (Pan paniscus), and 5 gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) in the trap-table-a task in which subjects have to pull one of two rakes prepositioned behind two rewards on a flat surface. One of the rewards is in front of a trap into which it will fall. We investigated the effect of trap type, tool type, the number of available tools, and reinforcement regime on performance. We replicated previous findings showing that apes failed to choose the correct rake above chance. However, when they could instead choose where to insert a single tool, around 80% of the apes solved the trap-table task in the first trial, revealing an important effect of task constraints on their performance.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-62
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008

    Research areas

  • tool-use, problem solving, inhibition, primates, causal knowledge, MONKEYS CEBUS-APELLA, SAGUINUS-OEDIPUS, TOOL USE, FEATURES, COMPREHENSION, COMPETENCE, TAMARINS

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Reciprocity: different behavioural strategies, cognitive mechanisms and psychological processes

    Schweinfurth, M. K. & Call, J., 1 Nov 2019, In : Learning and Behavior. First Online, 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. 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

  3. Great apes use self-experience to anticipate an agent’s action in a false belief test

    Kano, F., Krupenye, C., Hirata, S., Tomonaga, M. & Call, J., 30 Sep 2019, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Latest Articles

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Chimpanzees use observed temporal directionality to learn novel causal relations

    Tennie, C., Voelter, C. J., Vonau, V., Hanus, D., Call, J. & Tomasello, M., 23 Sep 2019, In : Primates. First Online, 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Revisiting the possibility of reciprocal help in non-human primates

    Schweinfurth, M. K. & Call, J., Sep 2019, In : Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 104, p. 73-86 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Related by journal

  1. The cognitive underpinnings of flexible tool use in great apes

    Voelter, C. J. & Call, J., 1 Jul 2014, In : Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes. 40, 3, p. 287-302 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Great Apes Select Tools on the Basis of Their Rigidity

    Manrique, H. M., Gross, A. N-M. & Call, J., Oct 2010, In : Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes. 36, 4, p. 409-422 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Searching in the Middle-Capuchins' (Cebus apella) and Bonobos' (Pan paniscus) Behavior During a Spatial Search Task

    Poti, P., Kanngiesser, P., Saporiti, M., Amiconi, A., Blaesing, B. & Call, J., Jan 2010, In : Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes. 36, 1, p. 92-109 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Chimpanzees Solve the Trap Problem When the Confound of Tool-Use is Removed

    Seed, A. M., Call, J., Emery, N. J. & Clayton, N. S., Jan 2009, In : Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes. 35, 1, p. 23-34 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 104093355

Top