Abstract # 182:

Scheduled for Monday, September 15, 2014 10:45 AM-11:05 AM: Session 24 (Decatur A) Oral Presentation


INTEGRATING SOCIAL DYNAMICS INTO SOCIAL LEARNING EXPERIMENTS

E. V. Lonsdorf1, K. E. Bonnie2, A. Krupnick1 and M. Grim1
1Franklin and Marshall College, Department of Psychology and Biological Foundations of Behavior , PO Box 3003, Lancaster, PA 17604, USA, 2Department of Psychology, Beloit College
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     Primates have been particularly well represented in social learning studies, both in the field and the lab, and across a variety of different tasks. Many primate societies have complex social dynamics that may either promote or inhibit social learning. In group diffusion studies, social constraints may cause certain individuals to forego participation, leading to an incomplete understanding of transmission dynamics and social learning abilities. We review here a set of social learning studies in chimpanzees, gorillas and tufted capuchins that demonstrate the differential spread of novel behaviors, and how these were likely affected by group-level social dynamics. Despite their overt dominance hierarchies, chimpanzees appear to be more tolerant of the close proximity of group members during social learning tasks and faithful transmission across most members of the group has been achieved in multiple studies. In contrast, a lack of social tolerance prevents the spread, or perhaps, the expression of the ability to learn a novel behavior in captive gorillas. Capuchin studies have had mixed success with group diffusion studies, and we report here on new data in which a shift from group to individual testing was necessary due to complicating social dynamics among group members. We suggest that a mixed approach of both group and single testing may be necessary to determine the extent to which animals learn from one another.