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Title: The logic of memory search in non-human primates (Cebus apella)
Author: De Lillo, Carlo
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1994
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This thesis focuses on the study of the spontaneous organisation of serial behaviour as a window on primate cognitive processes. The feasibility of a research program on non-human primates focused on such issues was tested by confronting capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) with a set of search tasks. In a first group of experiments, the subjects were required to search serially an array of occulders presented with a WGTA, in order to retrieve a hidden object. Socially transmitted information allowed to infer the possible sites of the object, reducing the search space to a sub-set of all possible locations. The subjects showed a tendency towards searching in a principled way, either using the information given, or the spatial constraints afforded by the linear arrangement of the search space. However, some inadequacies were individuated in procedures and apparatus. Successively, tasks requiring the exhaustive exploration of a set of icons, presented on touch sensitive computer monitors, were employed. These tasks implicitly demand a serial and economic search, where reiterations on sites already explored should be avoided. The structure of the search space was manipulated so that either spatial strategies or categorisation schemes could be used as a memory aid to keep track of the moves already performed. Monkeys showed a spontaneous tendency to progressively reduce the number of redundant moves and spontaneously deployed spatial strategies when possible. This produced economic searches in sets of up to 9 locations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available