Culture and social learning in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and children (Homo sapiens)
MetadataShow full item record
Culture involves the handing down of information, traditions, knowledge and skill, views and ideals from one individual to another and across generations by means of social transmission expressed in manufactured objects and behaviour. The evolution of cumulative culture, a human specific capacity, makes possible an inheritance system that is governed by the same Darwinian principles as biological evolution. Cumulative culture has made possible the build-up or ratcheting effect of knowledge and traditions that when put together allow for advanced technology, medicine, education and other highly advanced cognitive processes that characterise humans from non human animals. This dissertation dedicates the first chapter to review the literature pertaining to this topic; describing various types of social learning processes and methodological approaches that are used to query and broadly describe the process of culture in various animals. The following two chapters (2 and 3) present three experiments that provide methodical and systematic exploration of the social transmission process which occurs in chimpanzees; using 3 artificial foraging devices, the 3 studies systematically demonstrate that chimpanzees have the capacity to transmit culture from one individual to another and serially across neighbouring communities- providing laboratory evidence of behavioural variation analogous to that observed in the wild. Chapter 4 then goes on to describe an experiment that tests a number of hypothesised biases in cultural transmission. Looking specifically at social dynamics at play during the transmission of skill within ape groups - I systematically analyse the effects of directed social learning; focusing on kin and status based strategies that are characteristic of group living apes. Chapter 5 is an original, empirical and methodically comparative analysis of hierarchically organized behaviour in human children and chimpanzees using a hierarchically organized artificial fruit. The final chapter (6) discusses the findings of each of the five experiments and compares the results to findings at other captive and wild research sites. I then broaden the topic to explore how the findings relate to broad issues in literature and provide a framework for future research and for understanding the complex mechanisms of intelligent systems.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Description of related resourcesWhiten, A., Spiteri, A., Horner, V., Bonnie, K. E., Lambeth, S. P., Schapiro, S. J. and de Waal, F. B. M. (2007). Transmission of multiple traditions within and between chimpanzee groups. Current Biology, 17, 1038-1043.
Hopper, L. M., Spiteri, A., Lambeth, S. P., Schapiro, S. J., Horner, V. and Whiten, A. (2007). Experimental studies of traditions and underlying transmission processes in chimpanzees. Animal Behaviour, 73(6), 1021-1032.
Marshall, S. (2005). Observational Learning in Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) Using Naturalistic Experimental Tasks. Ph.D. thesis, University of St. Andrews.
Whiten, A., Goodall, J., McGrew, W. C., Nishida T., Reynolds, V., Sugiyama, V., Tutin, C. E. G., Wrangham, R. W. and Boesch, C. (1999). Culture in chimpanzees. Nature, 399, 682-685.
Whiten, A. and Ham, R. (1992). On the nature and evolution of imitation in the animal kingdom: Reappraisal of a century of research. In P. J. B. Slater, J. S. Rosenblatt, C. Beer and M. Milinski (Eds.). Advances in the Study of Behaviour. New York, Academic Press, (pp. 239-283).
Whiten, A., Horner V. and Marshall-Pescini, S. (2005). Selective imitation in child and chimpanzee: a window on the construal of others' actions. In S. Hurley and N. Chater (Eds.). Perspectives on Imitation: From cognitive neuroscience to social science. Cambridge, MA, USA, MIT Press.
Whiten, A., and Mesoudi, A. (2008) Establishing an experimental science of culture: animal social diffusion experiments. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B (in press).
Whiten, A. (2002a). Imitation of sequential and hierarchical structure in action: Experimental studies with children and chimpanzees. In K. Dautenhahn and C. L. Nehaniv (Eds.). Imitation in animals and artifacts. Massachusetts, USA, MIT Press, (pp. 191-209).
Whiten, A., and Suddendorf, T. (2001). Mental evolution and development: Evidence for secondary representation in children, great apes, and other animals Psychological Bulletin, 127(5), 629-650.
Visalberghi, E. and Fragaszy, D. M. (1994). Do monkeys ape? In S. T. Parker and K. Gibson, R. (Eds.). Language and Intelligence in Monkeys and Apes: Comparative developmental perspectives. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, (pp. 247-273).
Thorndike, E. L. (1911). Animal Intelligence. Macmillan.
Tinbergen, N. (1951). The Study of Instinct. Oxford, Clarendon Press.
Romanes, G. J. (1884). Mental Evolution in Animals. London, Trench and Co.
Romanes, G. J. (1881). Animal Intelligence. London, Trench and Co.
McGrew, W.C. (1998). Culture in non-human primates? Annual Review of Anthropology, 27, 301–328.
Matsuzawa, T. (2005). The cultured chimpanzee: Reflections on cultural primatology. Nature, 434(7029), 21-22.
Mesoudi, A., Whiten A. and Laland, K.N. (2006). Towards a unified science of cultural evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 29(4), 329-383.
Matsuzawa, T., Biro, D., Humle, T., Inoue-Nakamura, N., Tonooka, R. and Yamakoshi, G. (2001). Emergence of culture in wild chimpanzees: education by masterapprenticeship. In Matsuzawa, T. (Ed.). Primate Origins of Human Cognition and Behavior. Tokyo: Springer-Verlag, (pp. 557–574)
Laland, K. N. and Hoppitt, W. (2003). Do animals have culture? Evolutionary Anthropology, 12, 150-159.
Laland, K. N. (2004). Social learning strategies. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 271, 957- 962.
Horner, V., Whiten, A., Flynn, E. and de Waal, F. B. M. (2006). Faithful replication of foraging techniques along cultural transmission chains by chimpanzees and children. PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 103(37), 13878-13883.
Goodall, J. (1973). Cultural elements in a chimpanzee community. Precultural Primate Behaviour. E. W. Menzel, Karger. 1.
Galef, B. G. (1992). The question of animal culture. Human Nature, 3(2), 157-178.
Flynn, E. and Whiten, A. (2008). Cultural transmission of tool-use in young children: A diffusion chain study. Social Development. (in press).
Cavalli-Sforza, L. L. and Feldman M. W. (1981). Cultural Transmission and Evolution; A quantitative approach. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Byrne, R. W. and Russon, A. E. (1998). Learning by imitation: A hierarchical approach. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 21(5), 667-+.
Boyd, R. and Richerson, P. J. (1985). Culture and the Evolutionary Process. Chicago, IL, US, University of Chicago Press.
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.