The aim of this study was to verify whether chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) demonstrate an auditory laterality during the orientation reaction, and which hemisphere is responsible for processing the emotional stimuli and which for the species-specific vocalizations.
The study involved nine chimpanzees from the Warsaw Municipal Zoological Garden. They were tested individually in their bedrooms. Chimpanzees approached a tube filled with food, located in the centre of the cage. Randomly selected sounds were played from the speakers when the subject was focused on getting food. Individual reactions were observed and outcomes reported. The four types of sound used: thunderstorm, dog barking, chimpanzee vocalization and a zookeeper’s voice.
To test whether chimpanzees demonstrate auditory laterality we used a single sample X2 test. The existence of auditory laterality has been confirmed. The sound of the storm caused the orientation reaction to the left, while chimpanzee vocalization - to the right. On this basis we can conclude that among chimpanzees, arousing stimuli are being processed by the right hemisphere, and species-specific vocalizations by the left. However, the set of stimuli was limited so the study did not unequivocally resolve this issue.