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Chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, recognize successful actions, but fail to imitate them

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Author(s)

David Buttelmann, Malinda Carpenter, Josep Call, Michael Tomasello

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Cultural transmission, by definition, involves some form of social learning. Chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates clearly engage in some forms of social learning enabling some types of cultural transmission, but there is controversy about whether they copy the actual bodily actions of demonstrators. In this study chimpanzees recognized when a human actor was using particular bodily actions that had led to successful problem solving in the past. But then when it was their turn to solve the problem, they did not reproduce the human actor's bodily actions themselves, even though they were clearly capable of producing the movements. These results help us identify more precisely key reasons for the differences in the social learning and cultural transmission of humans and other primates. (C) 2013 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-761
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume86
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

    Research areas

  • attention, chimpanzee, intention understanding, nonhuman primate, Pan troglodytes, social learning, CHILDREN HOMO-SAPIENS, GREAT APES USE, CUMULATIVE CULTURE, HIDDEN FOOD, TOOL USE, OTHERS, EXPERIENCE, EXPRESSIONS, HUMANS, CUES

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