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Dev Psychol. 1998 Sep;34(5):813-22.

Intentional communication by chimpanzees: a cross-sectional study of the use of referential gestures.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602, USA. daleavens@aol.com

Abstract

This study describes the use of referential gestures with concomitant gaze orienting behavior to both distal food objects and communicative interactants by 115 chimpanzees, ranging from 3 to 56 years of age. Gaze alternation between a banana and an experimenter was significantly associated with vocal and gestural communication. Pointing was the most common gesture elicited; 47 subjects pointed with the whole hand, whereas 6 subjects pointed with index fingers. Thus, communicative pointing is commonly used by laboratory chimpanzees, without explicit training to point, language training, or home rearing. Juveniles exhibited striking decrements in their propensity to communicate with adult male experimenters compared with older chimpanzees. Significantly fewer mother-reared chimpanzees exhibited gaze alternation compared with nursery-reared chimpanzees.

PMID:
9779730
PMCID:
PMC2080769
DOI:
10.1037//0012-1649.34.5.813
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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