Between-task consistency, temporal stability and the role of posture in simple reach and fishing hand preference in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)
AffiliationUniversidad Autónoma de Madrid; University of Chester: Liverpool John Moores University
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AbstractStudying hand preferences in chimpanzees can provide insights into the evolutionary origins of human hemispheric specialization. Research on chimpanzee hand preference requires careful examination of important factors such as posture, between-task consistency and temporal stability, although few studies have investigated all of these factors in combination. We investigated hand preference in simple reach and fishing behaviours in a group of 19 chimpanzees at Chester Zoo in the UK. Simple reach was defined as extending a hand to grasp a small object, then flexing the limb in a continuous motion, and was examined in quadrupedal, sitting and climbing postures. Fish in hole was defined as inserting a stick into a hole in the wall with one hand and then extracting it with the same hand. Between-task consistency of hand preference was assessed by comparing simple reach and fish in hole, while temporal stability was assessed by comparing simple reach from two points in time: 2017 and 2019. The data showed no significant influence of posture on the strength of hand preference, which contrasts with previous research. The findings of this study show temporal stability in simple reach, although only partial between-task consistency. Overall, the results indicate that simple reach elicits laterality at the individual level and is consistent across postures and stable over time, which is consistent with the literature. These results suggest that posture stability may be important in affecting hand preference. Further, whilst there was overall stability in hand preference across time periods, some individuals changed their preferred hand, suggesting there may be individual level temporal instability of hand preference for certain tasks.
CitationDiaz, S. G., Murray, L., Roberts, S. & Rodway, P. (2021). Between-task consistency, temporal stability and the role of posture in simple reach and fishing hand preference in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Special Issue: Animal Lateralization, 242, 105417. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2021.105417
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