The perception of causality in chimpanzees (Pan spp.).
O'Connell S., Dunbar RIM.
Chimpanzees (Pan spp.) were tested on a habituation/dishabituation paradigm that was originally developed to test for comprehension of causality in very young human infants. Three versions of the test were used: a food item being moved by a hand, a human pushing another human off a chair to obtain a food item, and a film clip of natural chimpanzee behaviour (capturing and eating a monkey). Chimpanzees exhibited similar results to those obtained with human infants, with significantly elevated levels of looking on the dishabituation trials. Since the level of response was significantly greater on natural/unnatural sequences than on unnatural/natural sequences, we conclude that the chimpanzees were not responding just to novelty but rather to events that infringed their sense of natural causation.