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In the present study, the contributions of spatial and object features to chimpanzees’ comprehension of scale models were examined. Seven chimpanzees that previously demonstrated the ability to use a scale model as an information source for the location of a hidden item were tested under conditions manipulating the feature correspondence and spatial-relational correspondence between objects in the model and an outdoor enclosure. In Experiment 1, subjects solved the task under two conditions in which one object cue (color or shape) was unavailable, but positional cues remained. Additionally, performance was above chance under a third condition in which both types of object cues, but not position cues, were available. In Experiment 2, 2 subjects solved the task under a condition in which shape and color object cues were simultaneously unavailable. The results suggest that, much like young children, chimpanzees are sensitive to both object and spatial-relational correspondences between a model and its referent.


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