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Cognition and ageing

Motivational shifts and social selectivity

Similar to humans, aging monkeys show physical losses and reductions in social activity. To disentangle a general resource loss and the awareness of decreasing lifetime, we combined field experiments with behavioral observations in a large age-heterogeneous population of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) at La Forêt des Singes.

Differential ageing trajectories in cognitive tasks

Across the lifespan, the performance in problem-solving tasks varies strongly, owing to age-related variation in cognitive abilities as well as the motivation to engage in a task. To test age-related variation in inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility and persistence, we presented Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus), living at La Forêt des Singes in Rocamadour (France), with three problem-solving tasks.

Involved Lab members

Julia Fischer, Eva-Maria Rathke, Laura Almeling, Kurt Hammerschmidt, Julia Fischer

Associated publications

Rathke E-M, Fischer J (2020)
Differential aging trajectories in motivation, inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility in Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus)
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 375(1811): 20190617  - DOI -

Almeling L, Sennhenn-Reulen H, Hammerschmidt K, Freund AM, Fischer J (2017)
Social interactions and activity patterns of old Barbary macaques: further insights into the foundations of social selectivity
American Journal of Primatology 79 (11): e22711  - open access -

Almeling L, Hammerschmidt K, Sennhenn-Reulen H, Freund A M, Fischer J (2016)
Motivational shifts in aging monkeys and the origins of social selectivity
Current Biology 26: 1744-1749  - DOI -

Inhibitory control task (a); cognitive flexibility (b), (i) closed, (ii) left side open; persistence (c); set-up of Experiment 1 in the field (d)