Volume 44 Issue 5
Sep.  2023
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Xin-He Liu, Lu Gan, Zhi-Ting Zhang, Pan-Ke Yu, Ji Dai. Probing the processing of facial expressions in monkeys via time perception and eye tracking. Zoological Research, 2023, 44(5): 882-893. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2023.003
Citation: Xin-He Liu, Lu Gan, Zhi-Ting Zhang, Pan-Ke Yu, Ji Dai. Probing the processing of facial expressions in monkeys via time perception and eye tracking. Zoological Research, 2023, 44(5): 882-893. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2023.003

Probing the processing of facial expressions in monkeys via time perception and eye tracking

doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2023.003
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
X.H.L. and J.D. designed the experiment; X.H.L., L.G., Z.T.Z., and P.K.Y. collected the data; X.H.L. and J.D. performed the analysis; X.H.L. and J.D. wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Funds:  This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U20A2017), Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation (2022A1515010134, 2022A1515110598), Youth Innovation Promotion Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences (2017120), Shenzhen-Hong Kong Institute of Brain Science–Shenzhen Fundamental Research Institutions (NYKFKT2019009), and Shenzhen Technological Research Center for Primate Translational Medicine (F-2021-Z99-504979)
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  • Corresponding author: E-mail: ji.dai@siat.ac.cn
  • Received Date: 2023-06-07
  • Accepted Date: 2023-08-07
  • Published Online: 2023-08-04
  • Publish Date: 2023-09-18
  • Accurately recognizing facial expressions is essential for effective social interactions. Non-human primates (NHPs) are widely used in the study of the neural mechanisms underpinning facial expression processing, yet it remains unclear how well monkeys can recognize the facial expressions of other species such as humans. In this study, we systematically investigated how monkeys process the facial expressions of conspecifics and humans using eye-tracking technology and sophisticated behavioral tasks, namely the temporal discrimination task (TDT) and face scan task (FST). We found that monkeys showed prolonged subjective time perception in response to Negative facial expressions in monkeys while showing longer reaction time to Negative facial expressions in humans. Monkey faces also reliably induced divergent pupil contraction in response to different expressions, while human faces and scrambled monkey faces did not. Furthermore, viewing patterns in the FST indicated that monkeys only showed bias toward emotional expressions upon observing monkey faces. Finally, masking the eye region marginally decreased the viewing duration for monkey faces but not for human faces. By probing facial expression processing in monkeys, our study demonstrates that monkeys are more sensitive to the facial expressions of conspecifics than those of humans, thus shedding new light on inter-species communication through facial expressions between NHPs and humans.

  • The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
    X.H.L. and J.D. designed the experiment; X.H.L., L.G., Z.T.Z., and P.K.Y. collected the data; X.H.L. and J.D. performed the analysis; X.H.L. and J.D. wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
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