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Monkeys (Macaca Mulatta and Cebus Apella) and Human Adults and Children (Homo Sapiens) Compare Subsets of Moving Stimuli Based on Numerosity

Authors
  • Beran, Michael J.1
  • Decker, Scott2
  • Schwartz, Allison3
  • Schultz, Natasha4
  • 1 Language Research Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta GA, USA
  • 2 Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, Columbia SC, USA
  • 3 Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, Georgia State University, Atlanta GA, USA
  • 4 Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta GA, USA
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers in Psychology
Publisher
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Apr 08, 2011
Volume
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00061
Source
Frontiers
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Psychology
  • Original Research
License
Green

Abstract

Two monkey species (Macaca mulatta and Cebus apella) and human children and adults judged the numerousness of two subsets of moving stimuli on a computer screen. Two sets of colored dots that varied in number and size were intermixed in an array in which all dots moved in random directions and speeds. Participants had to indicate which dot color was more numerous within the array. All species performed at high and comparable levels, including on trials in which the subset with the larger number of items had a smaller total area of coloration. This indicated a similarity across species to use the number of items in the subsets, and not dimensions such as area or volume, to guide decision making. Discrimination performance was constrained by the ratio between the subsets, consistent with other reports of numerousness judgments of stationary stimuli. These results indicate a similarity in numerical estimation ability for moving stimuli across primate species, and this capacity may be necessary for naturally occurring experiences in which moving stimuli must be summed.

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