Abstract # 91:

Scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2007 09:30 AM-09:45 AM: Session 9 (North Main Hall F/G) Symposium

Looking Around at "Learning with Others"

D. M. Fragaszy
Univ. of Georgia, Dept. of Psychology, Athens, GA 30602-3013, USA
     Socially-mediated learning is the focus of much interest in the wider community of behavioral sciences. The field is young; methods and concepts are still developing. The symposium in which this presentation will be given focusses particularly on socially-mediated learning in groups of nonhuman primates. I highlight a few of the concepts and research designs used to understand socially-mediated learning in groups of individuals in contemporary work with humans and with other orders of animals, and consider how these concepts and designs might be useful to primatologists. From the perspective of researchers who study humans, I will mention Rogoff et al.’s (2003), Greenfield et al’s (2003) and Diener’s (2006) work concerning third-party observation, shared activities and “index of collaboration”, respectively. Recent work with ptarmigan (Allen & Clarke, 2005), blue tits (Johannessen et al. 2006), cowbirds (Smith et al., 2002) chickens (Hoppitt et al., 2007), scrub jays (Medford et al., 2000), guppies (Kelly et al., 2003, Reader et al., 2003), and other species illustrate a variety of ways to study socially mediated learning in groups of nonhuman animals. New statistical methods to identify and to model socially-mediated learning in groups have been suggested by Laland and Janik (2006). This exercise is motivated by the conviction that diversifying our approaches will both strengthen our work and increase its relevance to the wider community of biologists.