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Natural images: a lingua franca for primates?

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84015

Kirschfeld,  K
Former Department Comparative Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84222

Sigala,  N
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84063

Logothetis,  NK
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kirschfeld, K., Sigala, N., & Logothetis, N. (2001). Natural images: a lingua franca for primates?. Poster presented at 31st Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2001), San Diego, CA, USA.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-E1CB-A
Abstract
It has been reported that members of remote cultures, who are not familiar with pictorial materials, do not recognize pictures of familiar objects effortlessly. Moreover, the same perceptual cues are interpreted differently by subjects with different exposure to pictorial representations. In addition, familiarity with pictures, as a means of symbolic representation, is a more important factor in recognition than familiarity with depicted objects (Deregowski et al., Perception 1972). Although research of primate recognition often employs monkeys performing tasks with pictures shown on computer screens, it is not clear if the monkeys perceive the pictures as symbolic representations of familiar objects. We trained two macaque monkeys to perform a categorization task following standard operant conditioning techniques with positive reinforcement. The images (n=210) were sorted by natural category (n=18), included natural and man-made objects and were presented on a computer screen. During the training phase the monkeys were familiarized with a subset of images and learned by trial-and-error to respond by pulling one of two levers. Training with as few as three exemplars was typically enough for the monkeys to be able to generalize to new members of a category. Moreover, the monkeys were able to generalize to abstract representations. No significant differences were found for learning natural vs. man-made objects. These findings support the conclusion that macaques are able to extract similarities and form equivalence classes for objects they have no experience with, while familiarity with the depicted objects does not seem to facilitate learning of their pictorial representations.