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Emulation, imitation, over-imitation and the scope of culture for child and chimpanzee

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DOI

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Emulation, imitation, over-imitation and the scope of culture for child and chimpanzee. / Whiten, Andrew; McGuigan, Nicola; Marshall-Pescini, Sarah; Hopper, Lydia M.

In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences, Vol. 364, No. 1528, 27.08.2009, p. 2417-2428.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

Whiten, A, McGuigan, N, Marshall-Pescini, S & Hopper, LM 2009, 'Emulation, imitation, over-imitation and the scope of culture for child and chimpanzee' Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences, vol. 364, no. 1528, pp. 2417-2428. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2009.0069

APA

Whiten, A., McGuigan, N., Marshall-Pescini, S., & Hopper, L. M. (2009). Emulation, imitation, over-imitation and the scope of culture for child and chimpanzee. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences, 364(1528), 2417-2428. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2009.0069

Vancouver

Whiten A, McGuigan N, Marshall-Pescini S, Hopper LM. Emulation, imitation, over-imitation and the scope of culture for child and chimpanzee. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences. 2009 Aug 27;364(1528):2417-2428. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2009.0069

Author

Whiten, Andrew ; McGuigan, Nicola ; Marshall-Pescini, Sarah ; Hopper, Lydia M. / Emulation, imitation, over-imitation and the scope of culture for child and chimpanzee. In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences. 2009 ; Vol. 364, No. 1528. pp. 2417-2428.

Bibtex - Download

@article{6706ff5f55d14f63b4036973876f1164,
title = "Emulation, imitation, over-imitation and the scope of culture for child and chimpanzee",
abstract = "We describe our recent studies of imitation and cultural transmission in chimpanzees and children, which question late twentieth-century characterizations of children as imitators, but chimpanzees as emulators. As emulation entails learning only about the results of others' actions, it has been thought to curtail any capacity to sustain cultures. Recent chimpanzee diffusion experiments have by contrast documented a significant capacity for copying local behavioural traditions. Additionally, in recent 'ghost' experiments with no model visible, chimpanzees failed to replicate the object movements on which emulation is supposed to focus. We conclude that chimpanzees rely more on imitation and have greater cultural capacities than previously acknowledged. However, we also find that they selectively apply a range of social learning processes that include emulation. Recent studies demonstrating surprisingly unselective 'over-imitation' in children suggest that children's propensity to imitate has been underestimated too. We discuss the implications of these developments for the nature of social learning and culture in the two species. Finally, our new experiments directly address cumulative cultural learning. Initial results demonstrate a relative conservatism and conformity in chimpanzees' learning, contrasting with cumulative cultural learning in young children. This difference may contribute much to the contrast in these species' capacities for cultural evolution.",
keywords = "imitation, emulation, social learning, cultural transmission, cumulative culture, chimpanzees, PAN-TROGLODYTES, HOMO-SAPIENS, TOOL USE, ARTIFICIAL FRUIT, YOUNG-CHILDREN, TRANSMISSION, TRADITIONS, INFANTS, PIGEONS, HUMANS",
author = "Andrew Whiten and Nicola McGuigan and Sarah Marshall-Pescini and Hopper, {Lydia M}",
year = "2009",
month = "8",
day = "27",
doi = "10.1098/rstb.2009.0069",
language = "English",
volume = "364",
pages = "2417--2428",
journal = "Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences",
issn = "0962-8436",
publisher = "ROYAL SOC",
number = "1528",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) - Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - Emulation, imitation, over-imitation and the scope of culture for child and chimpanzee

AU - Whiten, Andrew

AU - McGuigan, Nicola

AU - Marshall-Pescini, Sarah

AU - Hopper, Lydia M

PY - 2009/8/27

Y1 - 2009/8/27

N2 - We describe our recent studies of imitation and cultural transmission in chimpanzees and children, which question late twentieth-century characterizations of children as imitators, but chimpanzees as emulators. As emulation entails learning only about the results of others' actions, it has been thought to curtail any capacity to sustain cultures. Recent chimpanzee diffusion experiments have by contrast documented a significant capacity for copying local behavioural traditions. Additionally, in recent 'ghost' experiments with no model visible, chimpanzees failed to replicate the object movements on which emulation is supposed to focus. We conclude that chimpanzees rely more on imitation and have greater cultural capacities than previously acknowledged. However, we also find that they selectively apply a range of social learning processes that include emulation. Recent studies demonstrating surprisingly unselective 'over-imitation' in children suggest that children's propensity to imitate has been underestimated too. We discuss the implications of these developments for the nature of social learning and culture in the two species. Finally, our new experiments directly address cumulative cultural learning. Initial results demonstrate a relative conservatism and conformity in chimpanzees' learning, contrasting with cumulative cultural learning in young children. This difference may contribute much to the contrast in these species' capacities for cultural evolution.

AB - We describe our recent studies of imitation and cultural transmission in chimpanzees and children, which question late twentieth-century characterizations of children as imitators, but chimpanzees as emulators. As emulation entails learning only about the results of others' actions, it has been thought to curtail any capacity to sustain cultures. Recent chimpanzee diffusion experiments have by contrast documented a significant capacity for copying local behavioural traditions. Additionally, in recent 'ghost' experiments with no model visible, chimpanzees failed to replicate the object movements on which emulation is supposed to focus. We conclude that chimpanzees rely more on imitation and have greater cultural capacities than previously acknowledged. However, we also find that they selectively apply a range of social learning processes that include emulation. Recent studies demonstrating surprisingly unselective 'over-imitation' in children suggest that children's propensity to imitate has been underestimated too. We discuss the implications of these developments for the nature of social learning and culture in the two species. Finally, our new experiments directly address cumulative cultural learning. Initial results demonstrate a relative conservatism and conformity in chimpanzees' learning, contrasting with cumulative cultural learning in young children. This difference may contribute much to the contrast in these species' capacities for cultural evolution.

KW - imitation

KW - emulation

KW - social learning

KW - cultural transmission

KW - cumulative culture

KW - chimpanzees

KW - PAN-TROGLODYTES

KW - HOMO-SAPIENS

KW - TOOL USE

KW - ARTIFICIAL FRUIT

KW - YOUNG-CHILDREN

KW - TRANSMISSION

KW - TRADITIONS

KW - INFANTS

KW - PIGEONS

KW - HUMANS

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=68549139918&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1098/rstb.2009.0069

DO - 10.1098/rstb.2009.0069

M3 - Article

VL - 364

SP - 2417

EP - 2428

JO - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences

T2 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences

JF - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences

SN - 0962-8436

IS - 1528

ER -

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ID: 433644