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Even simple forms of social learning rely on intention attribution in marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus)


Burkart, J M; Kupferberg, A; Glasauer, S; van Schaik, C P (2012). Even simple forms of social learning rely on intention attribution in marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 126(2):129-138.

Abstract

Intention attribution guides the cognitively most demanding forms of social learning, such as imitation,
thereby scaffolding cumulative cultural evolution. However, it is not thought to be necessary for more
basic forms of social learning. Here we present evidence that in marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus)
even most basic forms of social learning such as enhancement depend on intention attribution. Marmosets
perceived the behavior of a conspecific and a conspecific-like robot, but not that of a moving black box,
as goal directed. Their subsequent choice behavior was shaped by social facilitation and stimulus
enhancement, that is, by very simple forms of social learning, but only when exposed to the conspecific
and robot, which they previously had perceived as intentional agents. We discuss the implications of this
finding for contemporary debates about social learning, including emulation learning and ghost control
studies, the necessity of goal-directed copying for cumulative cultural evolution, and the limits of current
classification systems of social learning for the evolution of social and asocial learning.

Intention attribution guides the cognitively most demanding forms of social learning, such as imitation,
thereby scaffolding cumulative cultural evolution. However, it is not thought to be necessary for more
basic forms of social learning. Here we present evidence that in marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus)
even most basic forms of social learning such as enhancement depend on intention attribution. Marmosets
perceived the behavior of a conspecific and a conspecific-like robot, but not that of a moving black box,
as goal directed. Their subsequent choice behavior was shaped by social facilitation and stimulus
enhancement, that is, by very simple forms of social learning, but only when exposed to the conspecific
and robot, which they previously had perceived as intentional agents. We discuss the implications of this
finding for contemporary debates about social learning, including emulation learning and ghost control
studies, the necessity of goal-directed copying for cumulative cultural evolution, and the limits of current
classification systems of social learning for the evolution of social and asocial learning.

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12 citations in Web of Science®
13 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:19 Jan 2012 12:21
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:17
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0021-9940
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026025
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-53599

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