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Sci Rep. 2014 Jun 13;4:5283. doi: 10.1038/srep05283.

Synchrony and motor mimicking in chimpanzee observational learning.

Author information

1
1] Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution, School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St Andrews, KY16 9JP, St Andrews, Scotland [2] Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Division of Psychology and Language Science, University College London, WCIN 3AR, London, England.
2
Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.
3
1] Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution, School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St Andrews, KY16 9JP, St Andrews, Scotland [2] Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
4
Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution, School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St Andrews, KY16 9JP, St Andrews, Scotland.

Abstract

Cumulative tool-based culture underwrote our species' evolutionary success, and tool-based nut-cracking is one of the strongest candidates for cultural transmission in our closest relatives, chimpanzees. However the social learning processes that may explain both the similarities and differences between the species remain unclear. A previous study of nut-cracking by initially naïve chimpanzees suggested that a learning chimpanzee holding no hammer nevertheless replicated hammering actions it witnessed. This observation has potentially important implications for the nature of the social learning processes and underlying motor coding involved. In the present study, model and observer actions were quantified frame-by-frame and analysed with stringent statistical methods, demonstrating synchrony between the observer's and model's movements, cross-correlation of these movements above chance level and a unidirectional transmission process from model to observer. These results provide the first quantitative evidence for motor mimicking underlain by motor coding in apes, with implications for mirror neuron function.

PMID:
24923651
PMCID:
PMC5381545
DOI:
10.1038/srep05283
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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