Abstract # 184:

Scheduled for Monday, September 15, 2014 11:25 AM-11:45 AM: Session 24 (Decatur A) Oral Presentation


Y. Eshchar and D. M. Fragaszy
University of Georgia, Department of Psychology, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA
     Social learning studies describe a long list of processes that can influence learning, from stimulus enhancement to imitation, but the dimension of time is rarely considered. We suggest that temporal analysis will reveal the dynamics of social learning in powerful new ways. For example, at present, the temporal pattern of effects of an individual’s activity on nearby group members is unknown. We illustrate one approach to temporal analysis using data from a wild population of bearded capuchins (Sapajus libidinosus) that use stones to crack palm nuts on anvils. We continuously recorded activities of focal juveniles (N = 11; 4 to 64 months) which cannot yet crack nuts efficiently, and concurrently the activities of other nearby group members. The activity was recorded in 20 min samples over an 8 week period. These data enable us to look at the influence of others’ nut-cracking activity on the juvenile’s behavior over time. We used a general linear mixed model (binary distribution) to look at the probability of a juvenile interacting with a nut while specific individuals in the group cracked nuts, and in the minutes following, compared to baseline rates. A sample provocative finding is that juveniles increased their interaction with nuts while their mother or the alpha male cracked nuts nearby, and again two – but not one or three – minutes after she (or he) stops.