Past event

Dr Alejandro Sanchez Amaro (Stirling): "On how captive socio-ecology influences chimpanzees" School of Psychology and Neuroscience Seminar

On how captive socio-ecology influences captive chimpanzees' competitiveness and other curiosities

Over the last decades, captive researchers have presented pairs of chimpanzees with various competitive situations, social dilemmas, cooperative tasks, and possibilities for reciprocity and prosocial behavior. The results of these studies have shed light on the cognitive mechanisms and motivations underlying chimpanzees' social behavior. However, despite some exceptions (e.g., Engelmann et al. 2016), most dyadic studies rarely consider the relationships between participants and individual traits such as age or sex. The contribution of these variables is often just controlled for, as many studies lack the statistical power to assess their relevance.

Under this premise, we aim to evaluate the effects of age, rank relation, kinship, bonding, and sex in chimpanzees' willingness to compete against a conspecific over food rewards in social cognition tasks. For that purpose, we reanalyzed 10 published studies that presented chimpanzee pairs from the Leipzig Zoo with diverse competitive scenarios. This project is a reality thanks to the EVApeCognition initiative, a large-scale collaboration to standardize and publish all great ape cognition studies conducted in the Leipzig Zoo over the last 20 years. During my talk, I will present the initiative, our plan, current developments, and our latest results on our competition project.