Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Primate Behavior

Committee Chair

Jessica Mayhew

Second Committee Member

Matthew Altman

Third Committee Member

Kara Gabriel

Abstract

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) hold an especially powerful attraction for researchers interested in cognition and how it developed to the degree observed in humans specifically and primates more generally. Chimpanzees are behaviorally complex primates with compelling data supporting their possession of intricate internal lives. The objective of this study was to simultaneously learn more of the cognitive process of inductive reasoning while also assessing the efficacy of a computerized box as a novel form of enrichment to aid in improving the environment of captive chimpanzees. Three social groups at the retired medical research chimpanzee sanctuary Project Chimps were given voluntary access to an interactive box inspired by previous touchscreen studies. Individuals varied widely in their interactions with the box but did not perform above chance on the preliminary levels of the task. Interest in the box was also observed to correlate negatively with the number of sessions so that exploration in the final sessions were significantly lower than that recorded in the first sessions. These results highlight the need for refinement in provisioning captive chimpanzees with interactive technology as enrichment.

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