No evidence of what-where-when memory in great apes (Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus, Pongo abelii, and Gorilla gorilla).

07:00 EST 13th February 2020 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "No evidence of what-where-when memory in great apes (Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus, Pongo abelii, and Gorilla gorilla)."

Episodic memory is the ability to recollect specific past events belonging to our personal experience, and it is one of the most crucial human abilities, allowing us to mentally travel through time. In animals, however, evidence of what-where-when memory (hereafter, WWW memory) is limited to very few taxa, mostly reflecting the socioecological challenges faced in their environment. In this article, we aimed to replicate 2 studies previously conducted on birds and primates to find convincing evidence of WWW memory in great apes. For this purpose, we tested 12 captive great apes in 3 different tasks. In Task 1, we tested whether great apes take into account temporal information when choosing between highly preferred perishable and less-preferred nonperishable food items. In Task 2, we tested whether great apes can differentiate between similar events having happened at different times in the past. Finally, in Task 3, we tested whether great apes can use their memory flexibly, incorporating novel information in their memories. In none of the tasks did our subjects make the correct choice significantly above chance, with performance further declining when subjects were presented with 2 events (Task 2). Moreover, none of them could reliably integrate novel information into their memories. Overall, our study casts doubt on the existence of WWW memory in great apes, and especially calls for more caution when using WWW memory tasks and interpreting their results. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983)
ISSN: 1939-2087


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Family of the suborder HAPLORHINI (Anthropoidea) comprising bipedal primate MAMMALS. It includes modern man (HOMO SAPIENS) and the great apes: gorillas (GORILLA GORILLA), chimpanzees (PAN PANISCUS and PAN TROGLODYTES), and orangutans (PONGO PYGMAEUS).

An infraorder of PRIMATES comprised of the families CERCOPITHECIDAE (old world monkeys); HYLOBATIDAE (siamangs and GIBBONS); and HOMINIDAE (great apes and HUMANS). With the exception of humans, they all live exclusively in Africa and Asia.

The pygmy chimpanzee, a species of the genus Pan, family HOMINIDAE. Its common name is Bonobo, which was once considered a separate genus by some; others considered it a subspecies of PAN TROGLODYTES. Its range is confined to the forests of the central Zaire basin. Despite its name, it is often of equal size to P. troglodytes.

Type of declarative memory, consisting of personal memory in contrast to general knowledge.

A suborder of PRIMATES consisting of six families: CEBIDAE (some New World monkeys), ATELIDAE (some New World monkeys), CERCOPITHECIDAE (Old World monkeys), HYLOBATIDAE (gibbons and siamangs), CALLITRICHINAE (marmosets and tamarins), and HOMINIDAE (humans and great apes).

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