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Automated Methods and the Technological Context of Chimpanzee Research

Automated Methods and the Technological Context of Chimpanzee Research

Chapter:
(p.189) 8 Automated Methods and the Technological Context of Chimpanzee Research
Source:
Chimpanzees in Context
Author(s):
Christopher FlynnIkuma Adachi
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226728032.003.0008

The use of automated methods in chimpanzee psychology research has a long history, from early behaviorism techniques involving levers and lights to modern-day cognitive studies using computerized touch-panel tasks. The technology behind these efforts has contributed to a deeper understanding of the chimpanzee mind by providing researchers with robust empirical platforms that highlight objectivity, precision, and detailed recordkeeping. This chapter gives an historical overview of the advancement of automated methods and their use-cases, each of which is characterized by the technology of the era, the context in which it was used, and the principal questions guiding the research. Expanded focus is given to the introduction and adoption of the computerized touch-panel task paradigm and its contribution to studies on chimpanzee memory, psychophysics, and natural cognition undertaken by the Ai Project of Kyoto University. The growing trend of utilizing computerized tasks for great ape welfare and enrichment purposes is also discussed, as are the recent efforts to expand the usage of automated tasks in zoo settings.

Keywords:   automated methods, cognition, research methods, touchscreen, history of psychology, enrichment, animal computer interaction, animal technology

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