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Can young chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) imitate arbitrary actions? Hayes & Hayes (1952) revisited

Custance, Deborah M.; Whiten, Andrew and Bard, Kim. 1995. Can young chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) imitate arbitrary actions? Hayes & Hayes (1952) revisited. Behaviour, 132(11/12), 837 -859. ISSN 0005-7959 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Contrary to recent scepticism, systematic use of an experimental approach suggested by Hayes & Hayes (1952) shows that chimpanzees can imitate novel actions. Two chimpanzees imitated 13 and 17 novel arbitrary gestures, respectively. They were first taught to reproduce 15 gestures on the command, "Do this!", and then presented with 48 novel items. Using a rigourous coding system, two independent observers correctly identified a significant number of the chimpanzees' imitations (p < 0.0001). We conclude that after a period of tuition chimpanzees can go on to imitate arbitrary actions, providing evidence of a basic cognitive capacity for perspective-taking and cross-modal matching.

Item Type:

Article

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
September 1995Published

Item ID:

5094

Date Deposited:

04 Mar 2011 10:02

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 14:35

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/5094

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