Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Philip Johns

Abstract/Artist's Statement

New World Monkeys are in the Primate family Callitrichidae, which is comprised of more than 20 species of marmosets and tamarins inhabiting northern and eastern South America. While they are often erroneously regarded as a primitive family of Primates, due to their lack of prehensile tail, moveable facial features, and opposable thumbs, studies continue to reveal an impressive social structure and highly developed cognitive abilities. One way to test cognition is by studying an animal’s ability to understand concepts, for example, whether or not a monkey can continue performing a task when a the task-oriented physical object is replaced with the artificial representation of that object. In this study, I hypothesized that, regardless of where they have been raised and their previous experience, New World Monkeys will successfully respond to video projections by learning to touch a projected image to receive a food reward in the same way they would with a physical object. To test this, I used a clicker and zoo-approved food rewards to train 6 monkeys, a male and female Geoffroy’s Marmoset (Callithrix geofrroyi), Common Marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), and Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) housed at the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, NY. A typical learning curve was demonstrated for both a paper star and an identical projected star. There was also a strongly suggestive response to moving video projections.

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