Citation Horton KE & Caldwell CA (2006) Visual co-orientation and expectations about attentional orientation in pileated gibbons (Hylobates pileatus). Behavioural Processes, 72 (1), pp. 65-73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2005.12.004
Abstract This study investigated attentional processes in a sample of captive gibbons. An initial aim of the research was to examine subjects' ability to co-orient with photographic images of both conspecific and human models. The gibbons' expectancies about the focus of another's attention was then also assessed, with an expectancy violation paradigm revealing subjects' sensitivity to an incompatibility between visual orientation and the position of a target object. The gibbons were exposed to two conditions; consistent sequences in which the stimulus individual directed attention towards a target object, and inconsistent sequences in which the model's attentional focus was incompatible with the location of this article. Analyses of the subjects' responses were made according to the direction of gazes and the time spent inspecting the depicted model in each of these conditions.
The results reveal a tendency for visual co-orientation with both conspecific and human models, suggesting that gibbons are competent in detecting the visual orientation of other species as well as their own. Furthermore, the subjects' tendency to look longer and check back to the depicted model in response to violations in the relationship between an agent and object (target appearing in an opposite direction to model's gaze), suggests that they possess some knowledge of how visual gaze direction relates to external stimuli.