Use of human visual attention cues by Olive baboons (Papio anubis) in a competitive task


Vick S & Anderson J (2003) Use of human visual attention cues by Olive baboons (Papio anubis) in a competitive task. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 117 (2), pp. 209-216.

The ability of four olive baboons (Papio anubis) to use human gaze cues during a competitive task was investigated; the baboons were allowed to remove only the non-fixated one of two simultaneously presented food items. Three baboons successfully learned to exploit the human’s head orientation as a cue to obtain a food item, and one individual also learned to use eye direction alone. As the baboons did not receive prior training with gross gestural cues, their performance suggests that the competitive paradigm may be more conducive to gaze monitoring in nonhuman primates than the standard object-choice paradigm. However, the baboons were insensitive to whether the experimenter could actually perceive the food item and therefore use of visual orientation cues may not be indicative of visual perspective-taking abilities in baboons. Performance was disrupted by the introduction of a screen and objects to conceal the food items, and to a lesser degree by the absence of movement in cues presented.

Primate; Gaze; Attention; Competition; Baboon; Cognition in animals; Human-animal relationships; Olive baboon; Gaze (Psychology)

Journal of Comparative Psychology: Volume 117, Issue 2

Publication date30/06/2003
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association