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Title: Innovation and social learning in monkeys and fish : empirical findings and their application to reintroduction techniques
Author: Day, R. L.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2003
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The thesis pursues two themes: The first investigate neophilia, innovation and social learning in captive callitrichid monkeys (family Callitrichidae) and guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata). The second explores the application of innovation and social learning theory and research findings to conservation techniques, especially reintroduction. The thesis relies on data collected in a zoo-based study where groups of callitrichids were exposed to novel extractive foraging tasks and also on data collected from laboratory studies of novel foraging behaviour in the guppy. The use of both primates and fish allow a broader range of issues to be addressed than could be tackled with a single model system. The callitrichid study reports intergeneric, age and enclosure type differences in neophilia, innovation and social learning, but no such sex differences. The same study examine the processes that lead to social learning but finds little evidence for directed social learning, although other forms of social learning are observed, namely localised stimulus enhancement. Laboratory studies of guppies reveal an influence of positive frequency-dependent social learning, or conformity, upon the spread of novel foraging behaviour. Fish experiments also examine the relative weighting of asocial and social information by manipulating the cost of reliance upon individual information relative to social information, in the process confirming the findings of theoretical models. The implications of the thesis’ findings for innovation and social learning research and also for conservation and reintroduction techniques are highlighted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available