Next Article in Journal
Cultural Adaptations of Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Treatment and Prevention of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in African Americans
Previous Article in Journal
Ethnic Differences in Personality Disorder Patterns among Women Veterans Diagnosed with PTSD
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Behav. Sci. 2014, 4(2), 87-101; doi:10.3390/bs4020087

Insights into Intraspecies Variation in Primate Prosocial Behavior: Capuchins (Cebus apella) Fail to Show Prosociality on a Touchscreen Task

Department of Psychology, Yale University, 2 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 December 2013 / Revised: 13 January 2014 / Accepted: 25 March 2014 / Published: 10 April 2014
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [544 KB, uploaded 17 April 2014]   |  


Over the past decade, many researchers have used food donation tasks to test whether nonhuman primates show human-like patterns of prosocial behavior in experimental settings. Although these tasks are elegant in their simplicity, performance within and across species is difficult to explain under a unified theoretical framework. Here, we attempt to better understand variation in prosociality by examining the circumstances that promote and hinder the expression of prosocial preferences. To this end, we tested whether capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)—a species that has previously demonstrated prosocial preferences—would behave prosocially using a novel touchscreen task. In contrast to previous studies, we found that capuchins as a group did not prosocially deliver food to a partner. Importantly however, data from control conditions revealed that subjects demonstrated limited understanding of the reward contingencies of the task. We also compared individuals’ performance in the current study with their performance in a previously published prosociality study. We conclude by discussing how continuing to explore intraspecies variation in performance on prosocial tasks may help inform debates regarding the existence of other-regarding preferences in nonhuman species. View Full-Text
Keywords: prosociality; altruism; capuchins; non-human primates; donation tasks prosociality; altruism; capuchins; non-human primates; donation tasks

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Drayton, L.A.; Santos, L.R. Insights into Intraspecies Variation in Primate Prosocial Behavior: Capuchins (Cebus apella) Fail to Show Prosociality on a Touchscreen Task. Behav. Sci. 2014, 4, 87-101.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Behav. Sci. EISSN 2076-328X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top