Ability of chimpanzees to respond to symbols of quantity in comparison with that of children and of monkeys

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Abstract

Four chimpanzees, 4 rhesus monkeys, and 11 4–9 yr old children were assessed under comparable conditions for their ability to make use of colors as symbols of quantity. One particular color represented the quantifier “all”; another represented “some”; another represented “one”; a 4th represented “none.” These arbitrarily chosen colors retained their individual meanings when the test conditions were varied on 3 occasions. The ability of the Ss to continue responding appropriately to the colors immediately after a change of test condition was used as the measure of performance. The apes performed like the monkeys, having particular difficulties, relative to the children, with the most sensitive quantifier, “some.” A multivariate ANOVA showed no significant difference between chimps and monkeys but a highly significant (p < .0001) difference between children and nonhuman Ss. (7 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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