Cláudia Sousa, Tetsuro Matsuzawa
The use of tokens as rewards and tools by chimpanzees(Pan troglodytes)
Animal Cognition, 4 :213-221, doi: 10.1007/s100710100104
This paper explores the effectiveness of token rewards in maintaining chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in working at intellectually costly tasks, and studies the "saving" behavior of the subjects, investigating the factors that can condition it. Two experiments were run. Tokens were introduced as rewards in a matching-to-sample task and used as exchange tools for food by three adult female chimpanzees. Subjects' performances were maintained at constant high levels of accuracy, suggesting that the tokens were almost equivalent to direct food rewards. The results also showed the emergence of saving behavior. The subjects spontaneously saved the tokens during the matching-to-sample task before exchanging them for food. The chimpanzees also learned a new symbolic discrimination task, with tokens as the reward. During this learning process a rarely reported phenomenon emerged: one of the subjects showed symmetry, a form of stimulus equivalence.
Tokens, Tools, Matching-to-sample, Chimpanzees, Stimulus equivalence