Imitative learning by captive western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in a simulated food-processing task

Although field studies have suggested the existence of cultural transmission of foraging techniques in primates, identification of transmission mechanisms has remained elusive. To test experimentally for evidence of imitation in the current study, the authors exposed gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) to an artificial fruit foraging task designed by A. Whiten and D. M. Custance (1996). […]

Artificially Generated Cultural Variation Between Two Groups of Captive Monkeys, Colobus guereza kikuyuensis

The majority of studies of social learning in primates have tested subjects in isolation and investigated the effects of learning over very short periods of time. We aimed to test for social learning in two social groups of colobus monkeys, Colobus guereza kikuyuensis. Subjects were shown video footage of familiar monkeys either pushing or pulling […]

Social learning and spread of alternative means of opening an artificial fruit in four groups of vervet monkeys

Two-action experiments, in which observer individuals watch models use one of two alternative methods to achieve the same goal, have become recognized as a powerful method for studying social learning. We applied this approach to vervet monkeys, Chlorocebus aethiops, using an artificial fruit (‘vervetable’) which could be opened by either lifting a door panel on […]

Vertical and horizontal transmission of nest site preferences in titmice

Social learning is widely used among vertebrates to acquire information about a variable environment. We conducted a study of social learning in the wild which involved cross-fostering eggs of blue tits, Cyanistes caeruleus, to nests of great tits, Parus major, and vice versa. This allowed us to quantify the consequences of being reared in a […]

Uncertainty in risky environments: a high-risk phenotype interferes with social learning about risk and safety

Uncertainty about risk is a pervasive problem for prey that must continuously manage risk in an ever-changing world. Prey can, however, minimize this uncertainty by learning from the information they sample in their environment. How uncertainty affects learning about risk has been the subject of recent attention, but no studies have examined how uncertainty affects […]