Document Type


Date of Award

Summer 1999

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Experimental Psychology

First Advisor

Roger S. Fouts

Second Advisor

Susan D. Lonborg

Third Advisor

Mary Lee Jensvold


The responses of five captive chimpanzees to 16 familiar and 16 unfamiliar humans were examined. The chimpanzees' responses were recorded and analyzed for directed attention, proximity, levels and recipients of arousal behaviors, latency of response and use of American Sign Language (ASL). With the exceptions of closer proximity associated with familiars and increased ASL use with familiars, results were statistically nonsignificant. This may have been because the unfamiliar humans were instructed to maintain a submissive and noninteractive posture during the trials. Trends within the results indicated that the unique behaviors of the individual human are more important than familiarity alone. It was concluded that zoos and other captive situations should educate their caregivers and visitors to use nonoffensive behavior appropriate to each species in their care.