The relationship between the interaction of two individuals and the transmission of knowledge and skills from one to another is called "master-apprenticeship"; through repetitive observation of the master (i.e., mother), the apprentice (i.e., infant) acquires a skill that was not part of his behavioural repertoire before. Over a period of 5 years, infant chimpanzees develop and, under natural conditions, they use their mother as a model for acquiring new behaviours and habits. In captivity, hand-reared chimpanzees form a strong bond with their human caregiver who represents a substitute of their natural mother. We investigated whether hand-reared young chimpanzees would learn a new behaviour, namely the leaf swallowing behaviour, by observing their "human mother" performing it. Four hand-reared young chimps housed at Parco Natura Viva, I, were allowed to observe for ten times their caregiver swallowing the leaves of a plant species similar to one chimpanzees naturally use in the wild. At the beginning of the study, all the subjects played with the plant without paying attention to it or interacting with its leaves. However, during the experimental sessions, all the subjects showed the leaf swallowing behaviour at least twice. When they witnessed the leaf swallowing behaviour from their keeper, they started to interact with the leaves and to display this behaviour. These results suggest that hand-reared young chimpanzees can learn new behaviours by observing their human surrogate mother. Furthermore, this study moves a step forward towards the comprehension of how the leaf swallowing behaviour is acquired in the wild, suggesting that it is acquired socially.

Can young chimpanzees learn a new behaviour by observing their human caregiver? / C. Spiezio, D. Grassi, A. Sgaravatti, M.A. Hufmann, E. Prato Previde. - In: PRIMATE REPORT. - ISSN 0343-3528. - 72:(2005 Aug), pp. 91-92. ((Intervento presentato al 1. convegno Congress of the European Federation for Primatology tenutosi a Göttingen (Germania) nel 2005.

Can young chimpanzees learn a new behaviour by observing their human caregiver?

E. Prato Previde
Ultimo
2005

Abstract

The relationship between the interaction of two individuals and the transmission of knowledge and skills from one to another is called "master-apprenticeship"; through repetitive observation of the master (i.e., mother), the apprentice (i.e., infant) acquires a skill that was not part of his behavioural repertoire before. Over a period of 5 years, infant chimpanzees develop and, under natural conditions, they use their mother as a model for acquiring new behaviours and habits. In captivity, hand-reared chimpanzees form a strong bond with their human caregiver who represents a substitute of their natural mother. We investigated whether hand-reared young chimpanzees would learn a new behaviour, namely the leaf swallowing behaviour, by observing their "human mother" performing it. Four hand-reared young chimps housed at Parco Natura Viva, I, were allowed to observe for ten times their caregiver swallowing the leaves of a plant species similar to one chimpanzees naturally use in the wild. At the beginning of the study, all the subjects played with the plant without paying attention to it or interacting with its leaves. However, during the experimental sessions, all the subjects showed the leaf swallowing behaviour at least twice. When they witnessed the leaf swallowing behaviour from their keeper, they started to interact with the leaves and to display this behaviour. These results suggest that hand-reared young chimpanzees can learn new behaviours by observing their human surrogate mother. Furthermore, this study moves a step forward towards the comprehension of how the leaf swallowing behaviour is acquired in the wild, suggesting that it is acquired socially.
Settore M-PSI/01 - Psicologia Generale
European Federation for Primatology
Gesellschaft für Primatologie
http://www.dpz.gwdg.de/pr/pr72/abstracts_efp-2005.pdf
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/33682
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