Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Conservatism and "copy-if-better" in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Abstract

Social learning is predicted to evolve in socially living animals provided the learning process is not random but biased by certain socio-ecological factors. One bias of particular interest for the emergence of (cumulative) culture is the tendency to forgo personal behaviour in favour of relatively better variants observed in others, also known as the "copy-if-better" strategy. We investigated whether chimpanzees employ copy-if-better in a simple token-exchange paradigm controlling for individual and random social learning. After being trained on one token-type, subjects were confronted with a conspecific demonstrator who either received the same food reward as the subject (control condition) or a higher value food reward than the subject (test condition) for exchanging another token-type. In general, the chimpanzees persisted in exchanging the token-type they were trained on individually, indicating a form of conservatism consistent with previous studies. However, the chimpanzees were more inclined to copy the demonstrator in the test compared to the control condition, indicating a tendency to employ a copy-if-better strategy. We discuss our findings in light of their relevance to the emergence of cumulative culture.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-579
Number of pages5
JournalAnimal Cognition
Volume20
Issue number3
Early online date20 Dec 2016
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2017

    Research areas

  • Culture, Social learning, Chimpanzees, Decision-making

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Information seeking about tool properties in great apes

    Bohn, M., Allritz, M., Call, J. & Voelter, C. J. 7 Sep 2017 In : Scientific Reports. 7, 10923

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Are great apes able to reason from multi-item samples to populations of food items?

    Eckert, J., Rakoczy, H. & Call, J. 6 Sep 2017 In : American Journal of Primatology. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. A test of the submentalizing hypothesis: apes' performance in a false belief task inanimate control

    Krupenye, C., Kano, F., Hirata, S., Call, J. & Tomasello, M. Sep 2017 In : Communicative and Integrative Biology. 10, 4, e1343771

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Distinctiveness enhances long-term event memory in non-human primates, irrespective of reinforcement

    Lewis, A., Call, J. & Berntsen, D. Aug 2017 In : American Journal of Primatology. 79, 8, e22665

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Non-goal directed recall of specific events in apes after long delays

    Lewis, A., Call, J. & Bernsten, D. 12 Jul 2017 In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 284, 1858, 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Cooperative problem solving in giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) and Asian small-clawed otters (Aonyx cinerea)

    Schmelz, M., Duguid, S., Bohn, M. & Voelter, C. J. 24 Aug 2017 In : Animal Cognition. First Online, 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. What's in a voice? Dolphins do not use voice cues for individual recognition

    Sayigh, L., Wells, R. & Janik, V. M. 8 Aug 2017 In : Animal Cognition. First Online, 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Great ape gestures. Intentional communication with a rich set of innate signals

    Byrne, R. W., Cartmill, E., Genty, E., Graham, K. E., Hobaiter, C. L. & Tanner, J. Jul 2017 In : Animal Cognition. 20, 4, p. 755-769

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Does social environment influence learning ability in a family-living lizard?

    Riley, J. L., Noble, D. W. A., Byrne, R. W. & Whiting, M. J. May 2017 In : Animal Cognition. 20, 3, p. 449-458

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Animal Cognition (Journal)

    Healy, S. D. (Member of editorial board)
    2015 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  2. Animal Cognition (Journal)

    Janik, V. (Member of editorial board)
    2004 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

ID: 248130327