Development of object concepts in Macaque monkeys

Cynthia Hall-Haro, Scott P. Johnson, Tracy A. Price, Jayme A. Vance, Lynne Kiorpes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the most interesting questions in cognitive development is how we acquire and mentally represent knowledge about objects. We investigated the development of object concepts in macaque monkeys. Monkeys viewed trajectory occlusion movies in which a ball followed a linear path that was occluded for some portion of the display while their point of gaze was recorded with a corneal-reflection eye tracker. We analyzed the pattern of eye movements as an indicator of object representation. A majority of eye movements of adult monkeys were anticipatory, implying a functional internal object representation that guided oculomotor behavior The youngest monkeys lacked this strong internal representation of objects. Longitudinal testing showed that this ability develops over time providing compelling evidence that object concepts develop similarly in monkeys and humans. Therefore, the macaque monkey provides an animal model with which to examine neural mechanisms underlying the development of object representations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-287
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Comparative study
  • Eye movements
  • Macaca nemestrina
  • Object permanence
  • Perceptual completion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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