Cooperative problem solving by tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella): spontaneous division of labor, communication, and reciprocal altruism.
Using an experimentally induced cooperation task, the authors investigated whether tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) share the following 3 characteristics of cooperation with humans: division of labor, communication, and reciprocal altruism. In Experiment 1, the authors trained individual monkeys to perform the necessary sequence of actions for rewards and tested them in pairs to assess whether they could solve the task by spontaneously dividing the sequence of actions. All pairs solved this task. In Experiment 2, monkeys worked in the cooperation task and a task requiring no partner help. They looked at the partner significantly longer in the former task than in the latter, but communicative intent could not be determined. In Experiment 3, only 1 of 2 participants obtained a reward on each trial. Monkeys maintained cooperation when their roles were reversed on alternate trials. Their cooperative performances demonstrated division of labor; results suggest task-related communication and reciprocal altruism.