The Responses of Female Baboons (Papio cynocephalus ursinus) to Anomalous Social Interactions: Evidence for Causal Reasoning?

Dorothy L. Cheney, Robert M. Seyfarth, Joan B. Silk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

103 Scopus citations

Abstract

Baboons' (Papio cynocephalus ursinus) understanding of cause-effect relations in the context of social interactions was examined through use of a playback experiment. Under natural conditions, dominant female baboons often grunt to more subordinate mothers when interacting with their infants. Mothers occasionally respond to these grunts by uttering submissive fear barks. Subjects were played causally inconsistent call sequences in which a lower ranking female apparently grunted to a higher ranking female, and the higher ranking female apparently responded with fear barks. As a control, subjects heard a sequence made causally consistent by the inclusion of grunts from a 3rd female that was dominant to both of the others. Subjects responded significantly more strongly to the causally inconsistent sequences, suggesting that they recognized the factors that cause 1 individual to give submissive vocalizations to another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-141
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume109
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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