Prosocial Motivations of Capuchin Monkeys Open Access

Heyler, Carla (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/nv935346t?locale=en
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Abstract

Prosocial Motivations of Capuchin Monkeys
By Carla S. Heyler

Prosocial behaviors in humans are known to be motivated by empathy and intrinsic gratification known as "warm glow". Historically thought to be uniquely human, similar self-rewarding mechanisms were recently proposed to motivate other-regarding behavior in brown capuchin monkeys ( Cebus apella). To determine if capuchins are indeed motivated to be prosocial by a sense of satisfaction derived from helping another individual (i.e. "warm glow") or instead by a desire to eat at the same time as another individual, twelve capuchin monkeys underwent two types of tests. The first ("Token Exchange") paired subjects with a partner and allowed them to choose to be prosocial (reward both monkeys) or selfish (reward only the choosing monkey). In the second ("NE Control"), the same monkeys were paired but the choice was eliminated; the experimenter simply delivered food rewards according to choices made during the "Token Exchange." The occurrence of mutually affiliative behaviors per subject during prosocial and selfish outcomes in both tests was recorded and compared. The rate of affiliative behavior was found to be higher during a prosocial than a selfish outcome in both the Token Exchange and NE Control, suggesting that affiliative behavior is facilitated by the presence of two food rewards and, thus, the opportunity to eat together. Therefore, capuchin monkeys may be motivated to be prosocial by a sense of satisfaction derived from eating with another individual. Surprisingly, the overall rate of affiliative behavior was also found to be higher during the NE Control than during the Token Exchange, indicating that the circumstances under which food is being delivered and consumed may likewise affect affiliative behavior overall.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………...1
METHOD..………………………………………………………………………………11

Subjects…………………………………………………………………..11
Procedure………………………………………………………………..12

Token Exchange………………………………………………….12

Figure 1…………………………………………………..14
Figure 2…………………………………………………..14

No Exchange Control…………………………………………….14

Data Coding……………………………………………………………...15
Data Analysis…………………………………………………………….17

RESULTS………………………………………………………………………………..17

Figure 3…………………………………………………………………..18
Figure 4…………………………………………………………………..18
Figure 5…………………………………………………………………..18

DISCUSSION……………………………………………………………………………19
REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………………..24

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