Format

Send to

Choose Destination
PeerJ. 2014 Mar 11;2:e283. doi: 10.7717/peerj.283. eCollection 2014.

Personality predicts the propensity for social learning in a wild primate.

Author information

1
The Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University , Acton, Canberra, ACT , Australia ; The Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London , Regent's Park, London , UK ; Large Animal Research Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge , Cambridge , UK.
2
The Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London , Regent's Park, London , UK ; Division of Ecology and Evolution, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London , Silwood Park, Berkshire , UK.
3
The Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University , Acton, Canberra, ACT , Australia.
4
The Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London , Regent's Park, London , UK.

Abstract

Social learning can play a critical role in the reproduction and survival of social animals. Individual differences in the propensity for social learning are therefore likely to have important fitness consequences. We asked whether personality might underpin such individual variation in a wild population of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus). We used two field experiments in which individuals had the opportunity to learn how to solve a task from an experienced conspecific demonstrator: exploitation of a novel food and a hidden item of known food. We investigated whether the (1) time spent watching a demonstrator and (2) changes in task-solving behaviour after watching a demonstrator were related to personality. We found that both boldness and anxiety influenced individual performance in social learning. Specifically, bolder and more anxious animals were more likely to show a greater improvement in task solving after watching a demonstrator. In addition, there was also evidence that the acquisition of social information was not always correlated with its use. These findings present new insights into the costs and benefits of different personality types, and have important implications for the evolution of social learning.

KEYWORDS:

Baboon; Information use; Papio ursinus; Personality; Social information; Social learning

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PeerJ, Inc. Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center