Abstract

This study investigated how two groups of zoo chimpanzees, one that lived in a small and mostly barren physical habitat yet had a successful social history and the other that lived in a larger and more enriched physical habitat yet had a turbulent social history, invested time occupationally. Different ecological synergies were found to emerge from these respective conditions and to influence time use in highly particularistic ways. As related to considerations of adaptedness, the limits of enriched physical environs when coupled with a dearth of social facilitation were revealed, as were the limits of social facilitation within impoverished physical spaces. Findings suggest that occupational therapists’ expertise in activity analysis could be enlarged to encompass analysis of naturally socially embedded ways of doing things across multiple contexts. To advance the ethic of occupational justice, functional assessments of individuals could also be expanded into functional assessments of the occupational aliveness of proximate life environments.

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