The roles of vocal and visual interactions in social learning zebra finches: a video playback experiment

Lauren M. Guillette, Susan D. Healy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The transmission of information from an experienced demonstrator to a naïve observer often depends on characteristics of the demonstrator, such as familiarity, success or dominance status. Whether or not the demonstrator pays attention to and/or interacts with the observer may also affect social information acquisition or use by the observer. Here we used a video-demonstrator paradigm first to test whether video demonstrators have the same effect as using live demonstrators in zebra finches, and second, to test the importance of visual and vocal interactions between the demonstrator and observer on social information use by the observer. We found that female zebra finches copied novel food choices of male demonstrators they saw via live-streaming video while they did not consistently copy from the demonstrators when they were seen in playbacks of the same videos. Although naive observers copied in the absence of vocalizations by the demonstrator, as they copied from playback of videos with the sound off, females did not copy where there was a mis-match between the visual information provided by the video and vocal information from a live male that was out of sight. Taken together these results suggest that video demonstration is a useful methodology for testing social information transfer, at least in a foraging context, but more importantly, that social information use varies according to the vocal interactions, or lack thereof, between the observer and the demonstrator.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Processes
Volume139
Early online date30 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Copying
  • Foraging
  • Social interaction
  • Social learning
  • Video playback
  • Zebra finch

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