Learning from others' mistakes? Limits on understanding of a trap-tube task by young chimpanzees and children.

Victoria Horner, Andrew Whiten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A trap-tube task was used to determine whether chimpanzees (Pan trogiodytes) and children (Homo sapiens) who observed a model's errors and successes could master the task in fewer trials than those who saw only successes. Two- to 7-year-old chimpanzees and 3- to 4-year-old children did not benefit from observing errors and found the task difficult. Two of the 6 chimpanzees developed a successful anticipatory strategy but showed no evidence of representing the core causal relations involved in trapping. Three- to 4-year-old children showed a similar limitation and tended to copy the actions of the demonstrator, irrespective of their causal relevance. Five- to 6-year-old children were able to master the task but did not appear to be influenced by social learning or benefit from observing errors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume121
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007

Keywords

  • chimpanzees
  • children
  • causal
  • trap tube
  • MONKEYS CEBUS-APELLA
  • TOOL USE
  • WILD CHIMPANZEES
  • COMPREHENSION
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • QUANTITY
  • INFANCY
  • PHYSICS
  • SET

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