Training squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) to deceive: acquisition and analysis of behavior toward cooperative and competitive trainers
Anderson, J.R.; Kuroshima, H.; Kuwahata, H.; Fujita, K.; Vick, S.J.
Journal of Comparative Psychology 115(3): 282-293
Three squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) learned to reach toward a container that covered food if a cooperative trainer rewarded such reaches by giving the food. A competitive trainer kept any food found, but wrong selections by this trainer were also rewarded. The monkeys initially reached toward the baited container indiscriminately, but gradually and with the aid of color-cued containers, all 3 reliably reached "honestly" and "deceptively" in the presence of the cooperative and competitive trainers, respectively. The monkeys did not appear to take the trainers' knowledge about the location of the food into account, and deception did not occur if food was placed under the normally unbaited container. With additional containers present, monkeys misled the competitive trainer into selecting the unbaited container farthest from the baited one. Although not indicative of mental attribution, the monkeys' behavior suggests awareness of the acquired communicative function of the reaching response.