Lectures 16, 17, 18: Social Learning & Culture
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Lectures 16, 17, 18: Social Learning & Culture Introduction Types and Mechanisms of Social Learning Tool Use Culture deWaal Japanese research Chimp Culture? Dolphin Culture? General thoughts?. Culture deWaal ’ s Theory. Emory University (Georgia, USA).

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Lectures 16, 17, 18: Social Learning & Culture

Introduction

Types and Mechanisms of Social Learning

Tool Use

Culture

deWaal

Japanese research

Chimp Culture?

Dolphin Culture?

General thoughts?


Culture

deWaal’s Theory

Emory University (Georgia, USA)



Culture Primatologist

deWaal’s Theory

The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural Reflections of a Primatologist

  • sushi-making analogy (master and apprentice)

  • examples of culturally-transmitted behaviours

  • - ‘knowledge and habits acquired from others’

  • - Japanese animal research…


Culture Primatologist

Japanese Research

Japanese Research in Animal Cognition

  • primatology (Japanese Macaque)

  • techniques & theories

    • provisioning, naming

    • not as much human/animal dualism


Culture Primatologist

Japanese Research

Imanishi (1940s, 1950s)

- criticized Western views

- animal culture

If individuals learn from one another, the group’s behaviour might start to become different from other groups, creating a characteristic culture.


Koshima Island Primatologist



Culture Primatologist

Japanese Research

Japanese Research in Animal Cognition

  • Western criticism

  • now: adoption of concepts and approaches


Culture Primatologist

Chimpanzee Cultures?

Whiten et al. (1999): Cultures in Chimpanzees (Nature)

  • variation in behaviour observed in wild


Culture Primatologist

Chimpanzee Cultures?

Whiten et al. (1999): Cultures in Chimpanzees (Nature)

  • variation in behaviour observed in wild

  • - systematic analysis

Andrew Whiten, University of Saint Andrews, UK


Culture Primatologist

Chimpanzee Cultures?

  • List of behaviours that might be cultural variants

  • characterized 65 candidates

    • Customary

    • Habitual

    • Present

    • Absent


Culture Primatologist

Chimpanzee Cultures?

  • Example: Ant Dipping

    • Tai Forest and Ivory Coast: short stick, directly to mouth

    • Gombe: long stick, swiping action (But nearby Mahale group doesn’t do it)


Culture Primatologist

Chimpanzee Cultures?

  • Criteria for ‘cultural’:

    • social learners; juveniles observe adults

    • ecology is not plausible explanation

    • genetic transmission is not plausible (differences in nearby communities)


Culture Primatologist

Chimpanzee Cultures?

Horner, Whiten, Flynn, de Waal (2006): “Faithful replication of foraging techniques along cultural transmission chain by chimpanzees and children”


Culture Primatologist

Chimpanzee Cultures?

Horner, Whiten, Flynn, de Waal (2006)


Culture Primatologist

Chimpanzee Cultures?

Horner, Whiten, Flynn, de Waal (2006)

Results:

Chimps: High fidelity of transmission

- even though without modeling, chimps would discover both options for opening

“Chimpanzees have a capacity to sustain local traditions across multiple simulated generations”


Culture Primatologist

Dolphin Cultures?


Culture Primatologist

Dolphin Cultures?

  • sex based to females

  • only one male ever observed sponging


Culture Primatologist

Dolphin Cultures?

Krutzen et al. (2005): Cultural Transmission of Tool Use in Bottlenose Dolphins

  • Not ecology

  • Transmitted through generations

    • matriline


Culture Primatologist

Dolphin Cultures?

Krutzen et al. (2005): Cultural Transmission of Tool Use in Bottlenose Dolphins

  • Not ecology

  • Transmitted through generations

    • matriline

  • Not genetic transmission

    • would expect more spread

  • Show good emulation/imitation in captivity


Culture Primatologist

Whale Culture?

Garland et al. (2011): Dynamic Horizontal Cultural Transmission of Humpback Whale Song at the Ocean Basin Scale


Culture Primatologist

Whale Culture?

Garland et al. (2011): Dynamic Horizontal Cultural Transmission of Humpback Whale Song at the Ocean Basin Scale

  • -Social learning

  • -Not genetic transmission

    • spread across genetically diverse populations

  • Not ecology


  • So what can we conclude? Primatologist

  • Inclusive definition of culture that reflects continuity between animals and humans?

    • yet human culture is different


Culture Primatologist

Human Cultures?

Dean et al. (2012): Identification of the Social and Cognitive Processes Underlying Human Culture

  • Teaching, Language, Imitation, & Prosociality


Culture Primatologist

Human Cultures?


Culture Primatologist

Human Cultures?

Dean et al. (2012): Identification of the Social and Cognitive Processes Underlying Human Culture

  • Teaching, Language, Imitation, & Prosociality


  • So what can we conclude? Primatologist

  • Inclusive definition of culture that reflects continuity between animals and humans?

    • yet human culture is different

  • Arguments based on how we see ourselves: it’s a philosophical argument

    • deWaal: “the perception of animals as cultured is as much a philosophical stance as the denial of animal culture”


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