Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Social and Physical Cognition in Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes ): Preliminary Investigation of Domain-General versus Domain-Specific Intelligence
by Faughn, Carley E., Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2014, 112; 3622935
Abstract (Summary)

Comparative and evolutionary cognitive scientists disagree on whether human and nonhuman primate cognition is driven by a general intelligence or more specific, modular mechanisms. Comparative research with chimpanzees is extensive and provides the opportunity to better understand the evolution of human cognition. Little research has been dedicated to individual differences in chimpanzee social and physical cognition. The study of individual differences can be informative in better understanding the generality of primate intelligence. Results supporting a correlation between performances in the social and physical domains would suggest that a domain-general inference system may be responsible. If no relationship is revealed between performances then more compartmentalized, modular mechanisms may be responsible. As a preliminary investigation, I administered four studies focusing on social and physical cognition to a large number of captive chimpanzees. Performance on two tool-using tasks served as indicators of physical intelligence. I administered two social investigations regarding individual variation in social responsiveness and sociability. I did not find a correlation between the social and physical investigations; however strong individual differences in performances were observed. Demographic factors sometimes played a role in the results presented here (e.g. dominance rank and age). While this research does not demonstrate a relationship between sociability and physical intelligence, additional social measures should be utilized in order to measure social cognitive ability in chimpanzees. Focusing on individual differences with a battery of social and physical tasks will be informative regarding the structure of primate intelligence and the underlying cognitive mechanisms that are responsible.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kalish, Michael, Povinelli, Daniel
Commitee: Dasgupta, Subrata, McFatter, Robert
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: Cognitive Science
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-B 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Evolution and Development, Behavioral Sciences, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Chimpanzees, Intelligence, Physical cognition, Primates, Social cognition
Publication Number: 3622935
ISBN: 9781303950940
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