ERIC Number: EJ849760
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
Ontogeny of Manipulative Behavior and Nut-Cracking in Young Tufted Capuchin Monkeys ("Cebus Apella"): A Perception-Action Perspective
de Resende, Briseida Dogo; Ottoni, Eduardo B.; Fragaszy, Dorothy M.
Developmental Science, v11 n6 p828-840 Nov 2008
How do capuchin monkeys learn to use stones to crack open nuts? Perception-action theory posits that individuals explore producing varying spatial and force relations among objects and surfaces, thereby learning about affordances of such relations and how to produce them. Such learning supports the discovery of tool use. We present longitudinal developmental data from semifree-ranging tufted capuchin monkeys ("Cebus apella") to evaluate predictions arising from Perception-action theory linking manipulative development and the onset of tool-using. Percussive actions bringing an object into contact with a surface appeared within the first year of life. Most infants readily struck nuts and other objects against stones or other surfaces from 6 months of age, but percussive actions alone were not sufficient to produce nut-cracking sequences. Placing the nut on the anvil surface and then releasing it, so that it could be struck with a stone, was the last element necessary for nut-cracking to appear in capuchins. Young chimpanzees may face a different challenge in learning to crack nuts: they readily place objects on surfaces and release them, but rarely vigorously strike objects against surfaces or other objects. Thus the challenges facing the two species in developing the same behavior (nut-cracking using a stone hammer and an anvil) may be quite different. Capuchins must inhibit a strong bias to hold nuts so that they can release them; chimpanzees must generate a percussive action rather than a gentle placing action. Generating the right actions may be as challenging as achieving the right sequence of actions in both species. Our analysis suggests a new direction for studies of social influence on young primates learning sequences of actions involving manipulation of objects in relation to surfaces.
Descriptors: Spatial Ability, Prediction, Social Influences, Infants, Animals, Behavioral Science Research, Learning Processes, Visual Perception, Visual Stimuli, Auditory Stimuli
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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