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'Image scoring' occurs when person A monitors the giving behaviour of person B towards person C. We tested for 'image scoring' in chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans. Subjects passively observed two types of incident: (i) a 'nice' person gave grapes to a human beggar, and (ii) a 'nasty' person refused to give. The subject witnessed both incidents in succession (but was unable to obtain the grapes). Shortly after, the ape had an opportunity to approach one or both human actors (nice/nasty), both of whom were now sitting side-by-side holding grapes. However, neither human offered their grapes if approached. The subject's expectation of which human was more likely to offer food was measured by comparing the proportion of time that subjects spent near each person. Chimpanzees (n=17) spent significantly more time at the 'nice' window compared to 'nasty'. Also, preference for 'nasty' declined as trials progressed. Results for other apes were not significant.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Processes

Publication Date





108 - 111


Animals, Attitude, Choice Behavior, Female, Gorilla gorilla, Humans, Male, Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, Pongo pygmaeus, Primates, Social Perception