Abstract # 183:

Scheduled for Monday, September 15, 2014 11:05 AM-11:25 AM: Session 24 (Decatur A) Oral Presentation


USING EXPERIENCE WEIGHTED ATTRACTION MODELS TO IDENTIFY SOCIAL LEARNING STRATEGIES IN WHITE-FACED CAPUCHIN MONKEYS

B. J. Barrett1,4 and S. E. Perry2,3
1University of California, Davis, Department of Anthropology, 330 Young Hall, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-8522, USA, 2University of California, Los Angeles, 3Department of Anthropology, UCLA, 4Animal Behavior Graduate Group, UC Davis
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     Social learning is an important part of how primates and other animals acquire complex extractive foraging techniques from conspecifics. However, analyzing variation in learning strategies among individuals and between groups can be challenging, especially with observational data collected in less than ideal field conditions. Experience-weighted attraction (EWA) models are an important tool in identifying the social learning strategies employed by wild primates. EWA models offer several advantages over other approaches to analyzing social learning strategies as they: (1) can estimate learning strategies from cross sections of behavioral data where researchers lack experimental control (2) directly use mathematical models of social learning strategies as statistical models (3) compare multiple, non-mutually exclusive hypotheses. I will highlight the utility of EWA models using data collected on extractive foraging techniques in white-faced capuchin monkeys, Cebus capucinus, at Reserva Biologica Lomas Barbudal, Costa Rica. While learning to forage for Sterculia apetala fruits, one group of capuchins (N=23) use a success-biased learning strategy to acquire the most efficient processing technique. However in a long-term dataset (2001-2012) instances where efficiency is unrelated to the technique being learned such as in Sloanea terniflora processing, individuals will bias attention toward and acquire the behavior of close conspecifics including cohort-mates and matrilineal kin. I will also discuss the influence of sex and age on variation in social learning strategies in capuchin monkeys.