Learning by proportional observation in a species of fish

Thomas W. Pike, Jeremy R. Kendal, Luke E. Rendell, Kevin N. Laland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Theoretical analyses predict that animals should not copy other individuals indiscriminately but rather should do so selectively, according to evolved behavioral strategies that dictate the circumstances under which they copy. Here, we show experimentally that nine-spined sticklebacks (Pungitius pungnius) use social information in accordance with 1 of 3 theoretically predicted optimal strategies to guide their foraging behavior. Under test, sticklebacks copied the foraging patch choice of demonstrator individuals with a probability, proportional to the demonstrators' payoff. The observation of this highly efficient form of learning in a species of fish supports the view that the presence of enhanced social learning may be better predicted by specific sources of selection than by how closely the species is related to humans and sheds light on the character of an adaptive specialization in stickleback learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-575
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Volume21
Issue number3
Early online date8 Mar 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

Keywords

  • evolutionary game theory
  • nine-spined stickleback
  • social learning strategy
  • PUBLIC INFORMATION
  • STICKLEBACKS
  • EVOLUTION
  • BEHAVIOR
  • CULTURES
  • INTELLIGENCE
  • IMITATE
  • CORVIDS
  • BIRDS
  • CUES

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