Title

Javan Gibbons (Hylobates moloch) Vary Gesture Use by Recipient’s Attentional State at the Gibbon Conservation Center, California

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Gestural Communication, Attentional State, Gibbons

Abstract

Gestural communication of large-bodied apes has been extensively studied, however data on small-bodied ape communication are less common. We explored gestures used in commun,ication by captive Javan gibbons (Hylobates moloch) housed at the Gibbon Conservation Center in Santa Clarita, California. We hypothesized that a sender gibbon’s gesture modality would vary with the recipient gibbon’s attentional state. We predicted that senders would be equally likely to use all gesture modalities (i.e., tactile, visual, actions, and facial expressions) when the recipient was attending or facing the sender, but would be biased toward tactile gestures and actions when the recipient was non-attending or oriented away from the sender. We collected data from three gibbon groups, n=10 individuals, using all-occurrences sampling and an ethogram to score behaviors from digital video recordings. Occurrences of gestures through the four modalities were recorded during a gibbon’s attempt to interact with another group member. We observed 1,143 interactions over 20 days. When all data were aggregated, gibbons used visual gestures, t(18)=2.79, p=0.01, and facial expressions, t(18)=2.60, p=0.02, significantly more when the recipient was attending and used tactile gestures, t(17)=2.47, p=0.02, significantly more when the recipient was non-attending. There was no significant difference in the actions modality, t(18)=0.82, p= 0.43. These data show that Javan gibbons used gestures that are appropriate to the recipient’s attentional state in three out of the four modalities.

Poster Number

45

Faculty Mentor(s)

Lori Sheeran

Department/Program

Primate Behavior & Ecology

Additional Mentoring Department

Primate Behavior & Ecology

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May 21st, 2:30 PM May 21st, 5:00 PM

Javan Gibbons (Hylobates moloch) Vary Gesture Use by Recipient’s Attentional State at the Gibbon Conservation Center, California

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

Gestural communication of large-bodied apes has been extensively studied, however data on small-bodied ape communication are less common. We explored gestures used in commun,ication by captive Javan gibbons (Hylobates moloch) housed at the Gibbon Conservation Center in Santa Clarita, California. We hypothesized that a sender gibbon’s gesture modality would vary with the recipient gibbon’s attentional state. We predicted that senders would be equally likely to use all gesture modalities (i.e., tactile, visual, actions, and facial expressions) when the recipient was attending or facing the sender, but would be biased toward tactile gestures and actions when the recipient was non-attending or oriented away from the sender. We collected data from three gibbon groups, n=10 individuals, using all-occurrences sampling and an ethogram to score behaviors from digital video recordings. Occurrences of gestures through the four modalities were recorded during a gibbon’s attempt to interact with another group member. We observed 1,143 interactions over 20 days. When all data were aggregated, gibbons used visual gestures, t(18)=2.79, p=0.01, and facial expressions, t(18)=2.60, p=0.02, significantly more when the recipient was attending and used tactile gestures, t(17)=2.47, p=0.02, significantly more when the recipient was non-attending. There was no significant difference in the actions modality, t(18)=0.82, p= 0.43. These data show that Javan gibbons used gestures that are appropriate to the recipient’s attentional state in three out of the four modalities.