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Learning from others' mistakes? Limits on understanding of a trap-tube task by young chimpanzees and children.

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Author(s)

Victoria Horner, Andrew Whiten

School/Research organisations

Abstract

A trap-tube task was used to determine whether chimpanzees (Pan trogiodytes) and children (Homo sapiens) who observed a model's errors and successes could master the task in fewer trials than those who saw only successes. Two- to 7-year-old chimpanzees and 3- to 4-year-old children did not benefit from observing errors and found the task difficult. Two of the 6 chimpanzees developed a successful anticipatory strategy but showed no evidence of representing the core causal relations involved in trapping. Three- to 4-year-old children showed a similar limitation and tended to copy the actions of the demonstrator, irrespective of their causal relevance. Five- to 6-year-old children were able to master the task but did not appear to be influenced by social learning or benefit from observing errors.

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume121
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007

    Research areas

  • chimpanzees, children, causal, trap tube, MONKEYS CEBUS-APELLA, TOOL USE, WILD CHIMPANZEES, COMPREHENSION, KNOWLEDGE, QUANTITY, INFANCY, PHYSICS, SET

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