Video-mediated behavior in gorillas (G. g. gorilla): A stage in the development of self-recognition in a juvenile male?
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractThe anomalous position of gorillas (G. g. gorilla) in the capacity for self-recognition remains puzzling. The standard measure of self-recognition is Gallup’s (1970) mark test that assesses an individual’s ability to recognize its altered image in a mirror following the application of paint marks to visually inaccessible areas. Here, the results of a small-scale pilot study are presented, utilizing video playback through a television monitor, to examine behavioural differences indicative of developing self-recognition. The behaviors of four Western lowland gorillas at Bristol Zoo, UK were observed while watching a TV screen during five conditions: blank screen, white noise interference, footage of unfamiliar gorillas, self previously recorded, and self-live. Differences were predicted in the frequency of the gorillas’ observed behaviors when viewing each of the conditions: specifically, that there would be more visual inspection, contingent body and facial movements, and self-exploration in the self-recorded and self-live conditions compared to the other conditions. These predictions were partially supported. No agonistic or fear responses were observed and self-exploration was only seen in the self-live condition. During live playback, contingency-checking movements and self-exploration of the mouth were observed, particularly in the youngest gorilla, providing important video evidence of a close parallel to the mouth exploratory behavior witnessed in self-recognizing chimpanzees. On the basis of these preliminary findings of differentiated spontaneous behaviors, a tentative framework is proposed for categorizing gorillas according to levels of developing self-recognition along a continuum.
CitationMurray, L. E. (2020). Video-mediated behavior in gorillas (gorilla gorilla gorilla): A stage in the development of self-recognition in a juvenile male? Journal of Comparative Psychology, 134(3), 293–302.
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
Description©American Psychological Association, 2020. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: https://doi.org/10.1037/com0000216
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/