Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Prestige affects cultural learning in chimpanzees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Victoria Horner, Darby Proctor, Kristin E. Bonnie, Andrew Whiten, Frans B. M. de Waal

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Humans follow the example of prestigious, high-status individuals much more readily than that of others, such as when we copy the behavior of village elders, community leaders, or celebrities. This tendency has been declared uniquely human, yet remains untested in other species. Experimental studies of animal learning have typically focused on the learning mechanism rather than on social issues, such as who learns from whom. The latter, however, is essential to understanding how habits spread. Here we report that when given opportunities to watch alternative solutions to a foraging problem performed by two different models of their own species, chimpanzees preferentially copy the method shown by the older, higher-ranking individual with a prior track-record of success. Since both solutions were equally difficult, shown an equal number of times by each model and resulted in equal rewards, we interpret this outcome as evidence that the preferred model in each of the two groups tested enjoyed a significant degree of prestige in terms of whose example other chimpanzees chose to follow. Such prestige-based cultural transmission is a phenomenon shared with our own species. If similar biases operate in wild animal populations, the adoption of culturally transmitted innovations may be significantly shaped by the characteristics of performers.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10625
Number of pages5
JournalPLoS One
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2010

    Research areas

  • Pan troglodytes, Wild chimpanzees, Tool use, Transmission, Rank, Innovation, Strategies, Behaviour, Skills

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. 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 othersWilliams, 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

  2. ‘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

  3. 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

  4. Payoff- and sex-biased social learning interact in a wild primate population

    Bono, A. E. J., Whiten, A., van Schaik, C., Krützen, M., Eichenberger, F., Schnider, A. & van de Waal, E., 10 Sep 2018, In : Current Biology. 28, 17, p. 2800-2805.e4

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Agreement between primary care and hospital diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: a cross-sectional, observational study using record linkage

    O’Neill, B., Kalia, S., Aliarzadeh, B., Moineddin, R., Fung, W. L. A., Sullivan, F., Maloul, A., Bernard, S. & Greiver, M., 7 Jan 2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 1, 15 p., e0210214.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Molecular epidemiology and expression of capsular polysaccharides in Staphylococcus aureus clinical isolates in the United States

    Mohamed, N., Timofeyeva, Y., Jamrozy, D., Rojas, E., Hao, L., Silmon de Monerri, N. C., Hawkins, J., Singh, G., Cai, B., Liberator, P., Sebastian, S., Donald, R. G. K., Scully, I. L., Jones, C. H., Creech, C. B., Thomsen, I., Parkhill, J., Peacock, S. J., Jansen, K. U., Holden, M. T. G. & 1 othersAnderson, A. S., 14 Jan 2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 1, 33 p., e0208356.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Orangutans (Pongo abelii) make flexible decisions relative to reward quality and tool functionality in a multi-dimensional tool-use task

    Laumer, I. B., Auersperg, A. M. I., Bugnyar, T. & Call, J., 13 Feb 2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 2, 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Sensitivity of multispecies maximum sustainable yields to trends in the top (marine mammals) and bottom (primary production) compartments of the southern North Sea food-web

    Stäbler, M., Kempf, A., Smout, S. & Temming, A., 28 Jan 2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 1, 18 p., e0210882.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Speed change discrimination for motion in depth using constant world and retinal speeds

    Lee, A. R. I., Ales, J. M. & Harris, J. M., 3 Apr 2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 4, 21 p., e0214766.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Catharine Penelope Cross (Member of editorial board)
    1 Sep 2018 → …

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

  2. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Reviewer)
    23 May 2018

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

  3. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Barbara Dritschel (Member of editorial board)
    May 2018 → …

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

  4. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Simon Young (Reviewer)
    7 Jun 201719 Jun 2017

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

  5. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Uli Schwarz-Linek (Reviewer)
    Mar 2017

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

ID: 4595311