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Chapter 5

Lecture 7 (Chapter 5 - March 4) - PSYCH 2TT3

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Brett Beston

PSYCH 2TT3 2013 Lecture 7 Chapter 5 – Cultural Transmission Social Learning - Overview  The anecdotes – studies done in mid 1900s (not necessarily controlled); before these observations, animals thought to be incapable of social behaviour and social learning  Non-imitative social learning; local enhancement and social facilitation  Cultural transmission  Imitation  Teaching  Brain size  Social Learning vs. Individual Learning o Social learning can be much faster – avoid the trail and error learning o Across generations, avoids the loss of information in the death of an individual o A rare insight can spread rapidly through the population Probable Social Learning – The Anecdotes  Imo the monkey (Japanese macaque) was the first individual who washed potatoes to remove sand – other monkeys started to do the same later o Imo solved a problem – others saw solution to problem and copied behaviour o Evidence for social learning (may not be a strong case for social learning)  The rate of increase in behaviour was low (not exponential like expected in social learning)  Some monkeys are not washing – not washing rate stable  Learning to wash not exponential  Human bias – macaques would not naturally be playing with sweet potatoes on the beach (humans placed the potatoes there)  Playing with objects in water isn’t novel – potatoes may just be another object brought into the water  Stone play in Japanese macaque – stacking up then knocking down stones; 3-year old Glance started (1979) o Spread of the stone play over 29 years o Only monkeys younger than Glance observed playing o Orange = verified players o Dashed lines = Glance o Individuals older than Glance did not have much stone play; younger than Glance had increased stone play o Younger individuals – more impressionable  Milk-Bottle opening by blue tits o Thick layer of cream at top layer of milk bottle – birds want to get at it o Bottles were initially delivered with no cap – caps added to prevent birds from getting to milk; birds learned to remove cap o The behaviour was first observed in England in the 1920’s and spread rapidly among blue tits o Some kind of social learning was probably involved because of the rapid spread o Increase in behaviour in blue tits; robin had low rate of bottle opening  difference probably due to social structure; robins are territorial, opposite sex only come together during breeding season; blue tits are very social, constantly interacting 1 PSYCH 2TT3 2013  Weakness – not controlled experiments; but inspire experiments Types of Social Learning  Social learning – a system of info transfer that affects an individuals behaviour based on what they previously observed  Local Enhancement – an observer may learn something just from being drawn to a model (there is no real learning from the model) o Benefit – most often, an observer joins a model who is probably at a location rich in food (and safe) o Drawn to location to where model is found in o Eg/ Sticklebacks – model fish have been put in certain areas; typically spend most time near vegetation; location of food and away from predators  Sandy vs. gravelly environment; blue = model present; green = alone  Will spend more time in foreign environment if a model is present o Old exploitation in hunting o Application in Conservation – attract endangered birds to a restored or protected habitat  Social Facilitation – the mere presence of the model enhances learning in the observer o Already in a group; working, traveling, foraging in a group  there is an advantage; don’t have to be as vigilant for predators, can spend more time learning  Contagion – not social learning on its own, but in combination with individual learning, can facilitate social learning o Eg/ Geese foraging together; one bird quacks and flies, the rest fly – observation of flight response; birds may not know why other bird is flying, but first bird may have seen a predator etc (knows something the others do not) o Spreads rapidly in a group Imitation in Non-Human Animals  Have to learn some sort of newbehaviour that has to do with spatial manipulation; sequence of events are followed to a T; not merely accomplishment of goal – it’s the process of attaining the goal  Mirror neurons – respond to specific neural pattern of events by observing behaviour of another individual  Anthropomorphism – the attribution of human traits to non-human animals  Most early reports on imitation in non-human species were incorrect  Imitation in chimps and children o Task – open a Plexiglas box to get fruit; two solutions (press a button that releases lever OR twist knobs to release lever) o Demonstration –  Half the subjects observed a demonstrator poking 2 plastic rods then lifting the lid  Other half of subjects observed the demonstrator twisting clockwise and puling the plastic rods and then lifting the lids o Two distinct techniques to control for non-imitative alternatives – local enhancement – the observer play with the box because the demonstrator does so  want to insure imitation o Prediction – observers would employ the technique observed to open the box o Observer behaviour – coders rated observer behaviour on a 0-7 scale  Majority of individuals who saw a twist – twisted; individuals who saw poke – poked 2 PSYCH 2TT3 2013  Percent Twists o Critical data indicating that an observer learns a new behaviour by watching a demonstrator exist for very few species o Local enhancement is prevalent  Imitation = observational learning o An observer learns a new behaviour by watching a demonstrator o Neither the presence of a demonstrator nor some outcome of the behaviour are sufficient – actions undertaken are important 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  Eg/ Grooming hand-clasp in 2 chimpanzee groups – varies depending on population  A tool set for harvesting termites in Goualougo, Congo o Ch
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