Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) display limited behavioural flexibility when faced with a changing foraging task requiring tool use

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Author(s)

Rachel Anne Harrison, Andrew Whiten

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Behavioural flexibility, the ability to alter behaviour in response to environmental feedback, and to relinquish previously successful solutions to problems, is a crucial ability in allowing organisms to adapt to novel environments and environmental change; it is essential to cumulative cultural change. To explore this ability in chimpanzees, 18 individuals (Pan troglodytes) were presented with an artificial foraging task consisting of a tube partially filled with juice that could be reached by hand or retrieved using tool materials to hand. Effective solutions were then restricted in the second phase of the study by narrowing the diameter of the tube, necessitating the abandonment of previously successful solutions. Chimpanzees showed limited behavioural flexibility in comparison to some previous studies, increasing their use of effective techniques, but also continuing to attempt solutions that had been rendered ineffective. This adds to a literature reporting divergent evidence for flexibility (the ability to alter behaviour in response to environmental feedback, and to relinquish previously successful solutions to problems) versus conservatism (a reluctance or inability to explore or adopt novel solutions to problems when a solution is already known) in apes.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4366
Number of pages28
JournalPeerJ
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2018

    Research areas

  • Behavioural flexibility, Chimpanzees, Tool-use, Cumulative culture

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. The reach of gene-culture coevolution in animals

    Whitehead, H., Laland, K. N., Rendell, L., Thorogood, R. & Whiten, A., 3 Jun 2019, In : Nature Communications. 10, 10 p., 2405.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. Animal cultures matter for conservation

    Brakes, P., Dall, S. R. X., Aplin, L. M., Bearhop, S., Carroll, E. L., Ciucci, P., Fishlock, V., Ford, J. K. B., Garland, E. C., Keith, S. A., McGregor, P. K., Mesnick, S. L., Noad, M. J., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Robbins, M. M., Simmonds, M. P., Spina, F., Thornton, A., Wade, P. R., Whiting, M. J. & 5 others, Williams, J., Rendell, L., Whitehead, H., Whiten, A. & Rutz, C., 8 Mar 2019, In : Science. 363, 6431, p. 1032-1034 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. ‘Over-imitation’: a review and appraisal of a decade of research

    Hoehl, S., Keupp, S., Schleihauf, H., McGuigan, N., Buttelmann, D. & Whiten, A., Mar 2019, In : Developmental Review. 51, p. 90-108

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  4. Conformity and over-imitation: an integrative review of variant forms of hyper-reliance on social learning

    Whiten, A., 14 Jan 2019, Advances in the Study of Behavior. Elsevier, (Advances in the Study of Behavior).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Related by journal

  1. PeerJ (Journal)

    David Ellard Keith Ferrier (Member of editorial board)
    2017 → …

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

  2. PeerJ (Journal)

    Gozde Ozakinci (Editor)
    2015

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

  3. PeerJ (Journal)

    Ildiko Maureen Lara Somorjai (Reviewer)
    2015 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  4. PeerJ (Journal)

    Maria Dornelas (Member of editorial board)
    2014 → …

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

Related by journal

  1. Hierarchical generalized additive models in ecology: an introduction with mgcv

    Pedersen, E. J., Miller, D. L., Simpson, G. L. & Ross, N., 27 May 2019, In : PeerJ. 7, 42 p., e6876.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Metabarcoding reveals a high diversity of woody host-associated Phytophthora spp. in soils at public gardens and amenity woodlands in Britain

    Riddell, C. E., Frederickson-Matika, D., Armstrong, A. C., Elliot, M., Forster, J., Hedley, P. E., Morris, J., Thorpe, P., Cooke, D. EL., Pritchard, L., Sharp, P. M. & Green, S., 16 May 2019, In : PeerJ. 7, e6931.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. The newly described Araguaian river dolphins, Inia araguaiaensis (Cetartiodactyla, Iniidae), produce a diverse repertoire of acoustic signals

    Melo-Santos, G., Figueiredo Rodrigues, A. L., Tardin, R. H., Maciel, I. D. S., Marmontel, M., da Silva, M. L. & May-Collado, L. J., 19 Apr 2019, In : PeerJ. 7, 20 p., e6670.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. A short, robust brain activation control task optimised for pharmacological fMRI studies

    Harvey, J-L., Demetriou, L., McGonigle, J. & Wall, M. B., 11 Sep 2018, In : PeerJ. 6, 18 p., e5540.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 252202899

Top