Washington: A new study has suggested that chimpanzees are capable of metacognition or thinking about one's own thinking and can adjust their behavior accordingly.
Researchers at Georgia State University, Agnes Scott College, Wofford College and the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York have suggested that chimps share with humans the capacity for metacognitive monitoring, which reflects a form of cognitive control that underlies intelligent decision-making across species.
The team wanted to know if nonhuman animals show similar behavioral indications of confidence and uncertainty. The study suggests chimps show similar behavior to humans, said researcher Michael Beran of Georgia State.
Across the series of experiments, the chimpanzees consistently showed they monitored the strength of their memories and acted accordingly. They were much more likely to move to the reward area early, before they had any feedback from the computer program, when they gave correct answers than when they gave incorrect ones.
They did not have to do this, Audrey Parrish said, adding that the computer would always tell them whether they were right or wrong, but by moving early when they knew they were right, they got a head start toward retrieving their reward.
The team concluded that these results, along with others, touch on the idea that chimpanzees share with humans the capacity for metacognitive monitoring. Although this capacity does not mean chimpanzees have the same conscious experiences humans can have when they act metacognitively, it does reflect a form of cognitive control that underlies intelligent decision-making across species.
The study is published in the journal Cognition....