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dc.contributor.authorFarine, Damien Roger
dc.contributor.authorSpencer, Karen Anne
dc.contributor.authorBoogert, Neeltje Janna
dc.identifier.citationFarine , D R , Spencer , K A & Boogert , N J 2015 , ' Early-life stress triggers juvenile Zebra finches to switch social learning strategies ' , Current Biology , vol. 25 , no. 16 , pp. 2184-2188 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 201323140
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 99060f26-8e6a-4f76-a536-2fdc23e5a4e0
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 84939568834
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000359882200032
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0002-2851-9379/work/78204961
dc.descriptionD.R.F. was funded by grants from NSF (NSF-IOS1250895) to Margaret Crofoot and BBSRC (BB/L006081/1) to Ben Sheldon, K.A.S. was funded by a BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellowship, and N.J.B. was funded by a Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Rubicon grant.en
dc.description.abstractStress during early life can cause disease and cognitive impairment in humans and non-humans alike [1]. However, stress and other environmental factors can also program developmental pathways [2, 3]. We investigate whether differential exposure to developmental stress can drive divergent social learning strategies [4, 5] between siblings. In many species, juveniles acquire essential foraging skills by copying others: they can copy peers (horizontal social learning), learn from their parents (vertical social learning) or from other adults (oblique social learning) [6]. However, whether juveniles' learning strategies are condition-dependent largely remains a mystery. We found that juvenile zebra finches living in flocks socially learnt novel foraging skills exclusively from adults. By experimentally manipulating developmental stress we further show that social learning targets are phenotypically plastic. While control juveniles learnt foraging skills from their parents, their siblings, exposed as nestlings to experimentally elevated stress hormone levels, learnt exclusively from unrelated adults. Thus, early-life conditions triggered individuals to switch strategies from vertical to oblique social learning. This switch could arise from stress-induced differences in developmental rate, cognitive and physical state, or the use of stress as an environmental cue. Acquiring alternative social learning strategies may impact juveniles' fit to their environment and ultimately change their developmental trajectories.
dc.relation.ispartofCurrent Biologyen
dc.rightsCopyright © 2015 the Authors. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
dc.subjectSocial learningen
dc.subjectSocial networksen
dc.subjectDevelopmental stressen
dc.subjectLearning strategiesen
dc.subjectProblem solvingen
dc.subjectBF Psychologyen
dc.subjectRC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatryen
dc.subjectQH301 Biologyen
dc.titleEarly-life stress triggers juvenile Zebra finches to switch social learning strategiesen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Psychology and Neuroscienceen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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