April 20, 2010

INTRODUCTION
-last Alzheimer's volunteering date: April 29; we are trying to collect donations for the unit for new activity supplies
-May 1: MS Walk - not too late to sign up, everyone who has signed up will receive an e-mail from Celeste with more info
-last meeting May 4 - ice cream social (earlier time, probably around 4:30); seniors in neuro/psych can show theses, open to faculty members

SPEAKER
"Social Cognition in Rhesus Monkeys", Amanda Hamel, NSB grad student in Melinda Novak's lab
-primates became social due to increased predation associated with ground life
-but life in social groups is hard so they developed social cognitive abilities, including eavesdropping
-eavesdropping - attending to third party interactions, understanding info presented, and using info to benefit self
-efficient strategy, gives info and safety

Can primates eavesdrop?
-rhesus monkey model
-human experimenters make faces related to dominant or submissive monkeys in view of monkeys, gauge monkey's reactions
-dominant or submissive person then gave treats, monkeys picked dominant overall
-we can conclude that monkeys eavesdropped

Can they eavesdrop on other interactions?
-two 20 second interactions focused around possession of food item
-in one interaction, an experimenter would give the food to the other person; in the other, she would pretend to give it but then take it back
-monkeys then chose who to take food from
-no preference between giver and taker models, but all monkeys had a side bias (person on left vs. person on right)
-why no preference? interactions too confusing, social nature of ability
-more research is underway