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Research at St Andrews

Apes: Social learning

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Abstract

Studies of great apes - orangutans, gorillas, bonobos, and chimpanzees - have played a prominent role in research on social learning in animals. Observational studies in the wild have identified over 30 different traditions in both chimpanzees and orangutans, suggesting that these apes show unusual reliance on cultural processes. Diffusion experiments with captive chimpanzees, in which behavioral variants are seeded into different communities, confirm that chimpanzees can sustain cultures composed of multiple traditions through repeated social transmission events. Further experiments show that apes may draw selectively on several different social-learning processes, including imitation of actions and emulation of the functional consequences of actions.

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Animal Behavior
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Pages327-333
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780128132517
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

    Research areas

  • Ape, Chimpanzee, Cultural transmission, Culture, Diffusion experiment, Emulation, Gorilla, Imitation, Orangutan, Social learning, Tradition, Transmission chain

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