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Neil Mennie, Nadia Amirah Zulkifli, Mazrul Mahadzir, Ahamed Miflah, Jason Babcock; Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of the use of gaze in natural tasks by a Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelli). Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1449. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1449.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Studies have shown that in natural tasks where actions are often programmed sequentially, human vision is an active, task-specific process (Land, et al., 1999; Hayhoe et al., 2003). Vision plays an important role in the supervision of these actions, and knowledge of our surroundings and spatial relationships within the immediate environment is vital for successful task scheduling and coordination of complex action. However, little is known about the use of gaze in natural tasks by great apes. Orangutans usually live high in the canopy of the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra, where a good spatial knowledge of their immediate surroundings must be important to an animal that has the capability to accurately reach/grasp with four limbs and to move along branches. We trained a 9yr old captive born Sumatran orangutan to wear a portable eye tracker and recorded her use of gaze in a number of different tasks such as locomotion, visual search and tool use in an enclosure at the National Zoo of Malaysia. We found that her gaze was task specific, with different eye movement metrics in different tasks. Secondly we also found that this animal made anticipatory, look-ahead eye movements to future targets (Mennie et al., 2007) when picking up sultanas from a board using her upper limbs. This semi-social animal is likely to be capable of the similar, high-level use of gaze to that of a social species of hominidae - humans.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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