Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Chimpanzees demonstrate individual differences in social information use

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Author(s)

Stuart K. Watson, Gillian L. Vale, Lydia M. Hopper, Lewis G. Dean, Rachel L. Kendal, Elizabeth E. Price, Lara A. Wood, Sarah J. Davis, Steven J. Schapiro, Susan P. Lambeth, Andrew Whiten

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Studies of transmission biases in social learning have greatly informed our understanding of how behaviour patterns may diffuse through animal populations, yet within-species inter-individual variation in social information use has received little attention and remains poorly understood. We have addressed this question by examining individual performances across multiple experiments with the same population of primates. We compiled a data set spanning 16 social learning studies (26 experimental conditions) carried out at the same study site over a 12-year period, incorporating a total of 167 chimpanzees. We applied a binary scoring system to code each participant’s performance in each study according to whether they demonstrated evidence of using social information from conspecifics to solve the experimental task or not (Social Information Score – ‘SIS’). Bayesian binomial mixed effects models were then used to estimate the extent to which individual differences influenced SIS, together with any effects of sex, rearing history, age, prior involvement in research and task type on SIS. An estimate of repeatability found that approximately half of the variance in SIS was accounted for by individual identity, indicating that individual differences play a critical role in the social learning behaviour of chimpanzees. According to the model that best fit the data, females were, depending on their rearing history, 15-24% more likely to use social information to solve experimental tasks than males. However, there was no strong evidence of an effect of age or research experience, and pedigree records indicated that SIS was not a strongly heritable trait. Our study offers a novel, transferable method for the study of individual differences in social learning.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalAnimal Cognition
VolumeIn press
Early online date19 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jun 2018

    Research areas

  • Chimpanzee, Culture, Social learning, Individual differences, Meta-analysis, sex differences

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Chimpanzees’ behavioural flexibility, social tolerance and use of tool-composites in a progressively challenging foraging problem

    Harrison, R. A., van Leeuwen, E. & Whiten, A., 5 Jan 2021, In: iScience. In press, 102033.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Does culture shape hunting behavior in bonobos?

    Whiten, A., 1 Sep 2020, In: eLife. 9, 3 p., e62104.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

  3. Refining our understanding of the "elephant in the room"

    Whiten, A., 10 Aug 2020, In: The Behavioral and brain sciences. 43, p. e182

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. A unified account of culture should accommodate animal cultures

    Whiten, A., 28 May 2020, In: Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 43, e118.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

  5. Wild chimpanzees scaffold youngsters’ learning in a high-tech community

    Whiten, A., 14 Jan 2020, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 117, 2, p. 802-804 3 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Animal Cognition (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Member of editorial board)

    1 Jan 201831 Dec 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  2. Animal Cognition (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Member of editorial board)

    1 Jan 201731 Dec 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  3. Animal Cognition (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Member of editorial board)

    2015 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  4. Animal Cognition (Journal)

    Josep Call (Member of editorial board)

    2006 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  5. Animal Cognition (Journal)

    Vincent Janik (Member of editorial board)

    2004 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. A machine learning approach to infant distress calls and maternal behaviour of wild chimpanzees

    Dezacache, G., Zuberbühler, K., Davila-Ross, M. & Dahl, C. D., 22 Oct 2020, In: Animal Cognition. First Online

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Age influences domestic dog cognitive performance independent of average breed lifespan

    Watowich, M. M., MacLean, E. L., Hare, B., Call, J., Kaminski, J., Miklósi, Á. & Snyder-Mackler, N., Jul 2020, In: Animal Cognition. 23, p. 795-805

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. An information-theory approach to geometry for animal groups

    Dahl, C. D., Ferrando, E. & Zuberbühler, K., Jul 2020, In: Animal Cognition. 23, 4, p. 807-817

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Absolute brain size predicts dog breed differences in executive function

    Horschler, D. J., Hare, B., Call, J., Kaminski, J., Miklosi, A. & MacLean, E. L., Mar 2019, In: Animal Cognition. 22, 2, p. 187-198 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Developmental perspectives on primate gesture: 100 years in the making

    Cartmill, E. A. & Hobaiter, C., 1 Jul 2019, In: Animal Cognition. 22, 4, p. 453-459 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

ID: 253380308

Top