Behaviour Research – Logical Thinking In Chimpanzees

Logical thinking of chimpanzees at Ngamba island

The sanctuary has been conducting behavioural research and logical thinking in chimpanzees at Ngamba Island , for more than 20 years!

This month we partnered with two visiting researchers from the University of California, Berkeley. Prof. Jan Engelmann and Dr. Hanna Schleihauf and are comparative psychologists working to study chimpanzee behaviour and cognition.

During their stay at Ngamba, they collected behavioural data in logical thinking in chimpanzees; Dr Hanna was interested in testing curiosity in chimpanzees.

Her study sought to answer the question of whether chimpanzees show a specific form of curiosity called ‘counterfactual curiosity’.

Counterfactual curiosity refers to seeking information about what could have been. For example, when chimpanzees make a choice, are they interested in finding out what would have happened if they had made a different choice?

This would represent an important learning mechanism for chimpanzees. From the chimpanzees who participated in the study, it was noted that Okech one of the adult males was the most curious one in all by scoring 17/18.

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