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How young children and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) perceive objects in a 2D display: putting an assumption to the test


Address for correspondence: Katherine A. Leighty, Animal Programs Administration, Disney's Animal Kingdom, P.O. Box 10000, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, USA; e-mail:


Object recognition research is typically conducted using 2D stimuli in lieu of 3D objects. This study investigated the amount and complexity of knowledge gained from 2D stimuli in adult chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and young children (aged 3 and 4 years) using a titrated series of cross-dimensional search tasks. Results indicate that 3-year-old children utilize a response rule guided by local features to solve cross-dimensional tasks. Four-year-old toddlers and adult chimpanzees use information about object form and compositional structure from a 2D image to guide their search in three dimensions. Findings have specific implications to research conducted in object recognition/perception and broad relevance to all areas of research and daily living that incorporate 2D displays.