How the great apes (Pan troglodytes, Pongo pygmaeus, Pan paniscus, and Gorilla gorilla) perform on the reversed contingency task: the effects of food quantity and food visibility

P.H.J.M. Vlamings*, J. Uher, J. Call

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


S. T. Boysen and G. G. Berntson (1995) found that chimpanzees performed poorly on a reversed contingency task in which they had to point to the smaller of 2 food quantities to acquire the larger quantity. The authors compared the performance of 4 great ape species (Pan troglodytes, Pongo pygmaeus, Pan paniscus, and Gorilla gorilla) on the reversed contingency task while manipulating food quantity (0-4 or 1-4) and food visibility (visible pairs or covered pairs). Results showed no systematic species differences but large individual differences. Some individuals of each species were able to solve the reversed contingency task. Both quantity and visibility of the food items had a significant effect on performance. Subjects performed better when the disparity between quantities was smaller and the quantities were not directly visible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-70
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology-Animal Behavior Processes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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