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J Comp Psychol. 1989 Mar;103(1):23-31.

Numerical competence in a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes).

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Primate Cognition Project, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.


A chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), trained to count foods and objects by using Arabic numbers, demonstrated the ability to sum arrays of 0-4 food items placed in 2 of 3 possible sites. To address representational use of numbers, we next baited sites with Arabic numbers as stimuli. In both cases performance was significantly above chance from the first sessions, which suggests that without explicit training in combining arrays, the animal was able to select the correct arithmetic sum for arrays of foods or Arabic numbers under novel test conditions. These findings demonstrate that counting strategies and the representational use of numbers lie within the cognitive domain of the chimpanzee and compare favorably with the spontaneous use of addition algorithms demonstrated in preschool children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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