Author(s): Brosnan SF, de Waal FB
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Abstract Social learning is assumed to underlie traditions, yet evidence indicating social learning in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), which exhibit traditions, is sparse. The authors tested capuchins for their ability to learn the value of novel tokens using a previously familiar token-exchange economy. Capuchins change their preferences in favor of a token worth a high-value food reward after watching a conspecific model exchange 2 differentially rewarded tokens, yet they fail to develop a similar preference after watching tokens paired with foods in the absence of a conspecific model. They also fail to learn that the value of familiar tokens has changed. Information about token value is available in all situations, but capuchins seem to pay more attention in a social situation involving novel tokens.
This article was published in J Comp Psychol
and referenced in Journal of Primatology