What chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) learn in a cooperative task
To examine the development of cooperation in a captive group of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), we designed an apparatus which required the simultaneous traction by two animals to get a reward. Two chimpanzees, an adult male and an infant female in a group of six, produced most of the successful responses (pulling on two handles simultaneously). Visual behavior was used to try to determine what chimpanzees learned about the cooperative task. Propositions were made to investigate what kind of learning could be attributed to chimpanzees and were confronted with results. Both subjects learned the link between the presence of fruits on the apparatus and the possibility of getting a fruit. They also learned the importance of the partner at the apparatus to make a successful response. Only the adult male learned to take into account the behavior of the partner at the apparatus before pulling a handle. From a methodological point of view, the glances made by the animals can constitute a useful behavioral indicator of what the subjects learned in a given social situation.