Instructional videos have already been used as enrichment for captive animals, such as chimpanzees, gorillas, zebra finches, and Japanese macaques. Differences in visual systems can affect the success of such efforts, since some animals literally see the world differently than humans do. Marmosets, for example, do not process colors precisely the same way, so the researchers presented the videos in grey scale.
Some animals might also think that the demonstrator on the screen is a live, present animal that could pose a threat. For the new study, however, the marmosets seemed to know that the demonstrators were not there in the flesh.
Scottish Primate Research Group member Erica van de Waal, commenting from a savanna full of vervet monkeys, told Discovery News that the "instructional video technique is great," especially from a research standpoint, since it gives scientists a better look at how animals learn.
Charles Snowdon, a professor of psychology and zoology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, agrees with van de Waal. He also said, "It is a major advance to demonstrate that video techniques can facilitate social learning in the wild."