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social learning.docx

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Brett Beston

March 4 , 2013 Psych 2TT3: Animal Behaviour Cultural Transmission Social Learning - allows for the transmission of information across generations without the need for genes - it is really different from individual learning - the outcome is:  social learning can be much faster: aboud the trial and error learning  across generations aboids the loss of information in the death of the individual  a rare insight can spread rapidly through the population Probably Social Learning – the Anecdotes - imo the monkey (Japanesse macaque) was the first individual who washed potatoes to remove sand - other monkeys started to do the same later - is it social learning? - Saw an increase rate in the number of monkeys which were washing potatoes - First monkey solved a solution to a problem and others were able to copy I order to learn this behaviour Evidence for Scoial Learning - the rate of increase was low - human bias: humans were throwing potatoes on the beach - Playing with objects in water isn’t novel - Rate of washing sweet potatoes is not exponential like we would expect to see in social learning - Number who aren’t washing remains stable over time - The rate of learning to wash is also constant over time, not an exponential increase Probably Social Learning – The Anectode - cultural transmission in primates - stone play in Japanese macaque: stacking up then knocking down stones - 3-year old Glance started - made recordings of behaviour: there were more individuals that were playing in stones when he came back - spread of the stone play over 29 years - only monkeys younger than Glance observed playing - orange = verified examples of game play - dashed line represents Glance - frequency of the observed behaviour increases in younger individuals Milk-Bottle Opening by Blue Tits - crema nutrients settle at the top of the milk - blue tits and other birds (robins) were siphoning of the milk - eventually started to add milk bottle caps to prevent the birds from drinking the milk - birds learn how to pierce the cap - observed bottle openings over time begins to change dramatically - however the rate for robins remained low - we see one group going through a successful institution of learning yet in robins we don’t: this is due to their social structure - robins are more territorial - however, blue tits are more social animals - difference in the distribution of the two groups - the was first observed in England in the 1920’s and spread rapidly among blue tits - some kind of social learning was probably involved because of the rapid spread Probable Social Learning – The Anecdotes - weakness: they are not controlled experiments, (but inspire such experiments) What is Social Learning - system of information transfer that effects an individuals phenotype based on what they have observed - cultural transmission relies on two individuals being present  model: creating instructions  observer: learns specific behaviour Simple Types of Social Learning - local enhancement an observer may learn something just from being drawn to a model (there is no real learning from the model) - model fish have been placed in particular areas (sticklebacks spend most of their time around vegetation; not usually found in gravel or sand) - placing a model in a context where they wouldn’t normally be draws the attention of observer fish changing their behaviour - upwards of 80% of time is spent swimming around the model when it is in an unusual environment - could play a role in mating Local Enhancement - benefit: most often, an observer joins a model who is probably at a location rich in food (and safe) - old exploitation in hunting - application in conservation: attract endangered birds to a restored or protected habitat, example flamingo decoy Social Facilitation - the mere presence of the model enhances learning in the observer - similarity with local enhancement - however, you are not being drawn to a particular location - being in a group tends to be beneficial, for example vigilance in predation - allows for more time for learning Contagion - not social learning on its own, but in combination with individual learning it could facilitate social learning - ex.: the observation of a flight response - known as something that spreads rapidly in a group - response facilitation affect in which behaviours of a more or less instinctive nature are triggered by other individuals in the group - one individual knows something and reacts Imitation in Non-Human Animals? - anthropomorphismL the attribution of human traits to non-human animals - most early reports on imitation in non-human species were incorrect - involves some sort of spatial manipulation which leads to the achievement of a goal - in order for it to be considered imitation it has to be a sequence of events are followed to a tee - is not observed that much in animals What us Special about Imitation? - humans and primates have features that most don’t - for example, mirror neurons: type of neuron that doesn’t respond to planning or execution of movement, but rather a specific pattern fires when viewing a certain behaviour Imitation in Chimps and Children - task: individuals must open a Plexiglas box in which there is a toy or a fruit - there are two solutions to the task: presing a button that will release a lever and allow to open the bow - you can also twist to open the box - demonstration: half of the subjects observed a demonstrator - having two different ways is an important control Why Two Distinct Techniques - to control for non-imitative alternatives – local enhancement – the observers play with the box because the demonstrator does so - prediction: observers would emply the technique they have observed to open the box Observer Behaviour - coders rated observer behaviour on a 0-7 scale - chimps and children are able to produce imitation - only recording number of twist: those who saw poking never twist whereas those who see twist, twist almost all the time - chimps are able to imitate behaciour Imitation in Non-Human Animals? - critical data indicating that an observer learns a new behaviour by watching a demonstrator exist for very few species - local enhancement is prevalent - ex.: pressing lever using foot or beak; if an observer sees the demonstrator using their foot they will use their foot and vice versa Imitation = Observational Learning - an observer learns a new behaviour by watching a demonstrator - neither the presence of a demonstrator nor some outcome of the behaviour are sufficient Culture in Non-Human Animals? - culture: a suit of local traditions that uniquely identifies a certain population - tradition: a distinctive behavioural pattern shared by two or more individuals in a social unit, which persists over time and that new practitioners acquire in part through socially aided learning Grooming Hand-Clasp in 2 Chimpanzee Groups - hand-class varies between two different
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