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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Brief Report: The Use of Experimenter-Given Cues by South American Sea Lions


South American sea lions ( Otaria byrona ) were tested in an object choice task in which they had to use one of the following experimenter-given cues to choose the correct object for a reward: (1) the experimenter pointed and gazed at the object, (2) the experimenter pointed at the object, (3) the experimenter gazed at the object, (4) the experimenter placed a marker on the object, or (5) the experimenter presented a replica of the target object. The sea lions were able to successfully use three of these five cues. These results demonstrate that relatively little experience with human trainers was necessary for the subjects to perceive and act on select attentional cues given by a human experimenter. These results indicate that sea lions are able to interpret certain untrained communicative cues successfully.

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