Touch improves visual discrimination of object features in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.)

Primates perceive many object features through vision and touch. To date, little is known on how the synergy of these two sensory modalities contributes to enhance object recognition. Here, we investigated in capuchin monkeys (N = 12) whether manipulating objects and retaining tactile information enhanced visual recognition of geometrical object properties on different scales. Capuchins were trained to visually select the rewarded one of two objects differing in size, shape (larger-scale) or surface structure (smaller-scale). Objects were explored in two experimental conditions: the Sight condition prevented capuchins from touching the chosen object; the Sight and Touch condition allowed them to touch the selected object. Our results indicated that tactile information increased the capuchins' learning speed for visual discrimination of object features. Moreover, the capuchins' learning speed was higher in both size and shape discrimination compared to surface discrimination regardless of the availability of tactile input. Overall, our data demonstrated that the acquisition of tactile information about object features was advantageous for the capuchins and allowed them to achieve high levels of visual accuracy faster. This suggests that information from touch potentiated object recognition in the visual modality.

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Carducci P.
Squillace V.
Manzi G.
Truppa V.
Elsevier Science Ireland, Amsterdam , Paesi Bassi
Behavioural processes (Print) 172 (2020). doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2020.104044
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Carducci P.; Squillace V.; Manzi G.; Truppa V./titolo:Touch improves visual discrimination of object features in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.)/doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2020.104044/rivista:Behavioural processes (Print)/anno:2020/pa
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