Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: A comparative approach to social learning from the bottom up
Author: O'Sullivan, Eóin P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5917 2448
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access through EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 31 Mar 2018
Access through Institution:
The aim of this thesis is to examine the cognitive processes of social learning from the bottom up. In the field of comparative psychology, an overemphasis on understanding complex cognitive processes in nonhuman animals (e.g. empathy, imitation), may be detrimental to the study of simpler mechanisms. In this thesis, I report five studies of simple cognitive processes related to social learning. A series of experiments with human children and capuchin monkeys (Sapajus sp.), examined action imitation and identified a possible role for associative learning in the development of this ability. An analysis of observational data from captive capuchins explored a number of lesser-studied social learning phenomena, including behavioural synchrony, the neighbour effect, and group-size effects. The results of this study emphasise the importance of exploring behaviour at a number of levels to appreciate the dynamic nature of social influence. Two final experiments examined social contagion in capuchin monkeys, and highlight the importance of describing the relationship between behaviour and emotion to properly understand more complex social cognition. Together, these studies demonstrate how approaching human and nonhuman behaviour from the bottom up, as well as from the top down, can contribute to a better comparative science of social learning.
Supervisor: Caldwell, Christine Anna Sponsor: Psychology Division ; University of Stirling.
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Thesis or Dissertation
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: social learning ; comparative psychology ; capuchin monkeys ; automatic imitation ; behavioural synchrony ; social contagion ; developmental psychology ; Psychology, Comparative ; Capuchin monkeys--Behavior