Price EE & Caldwell CA (2007) Artificially generated cultural variation between two groups of captive colobus monkeys, Colobus guereza kikuyuensis. Behavioural Processes, 74 (1), pp. 13-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2006.09.003
The majority of studies of social learning in primates have tested subjects in isolation and investigated the effects of learning over very short periods of time. We aimed to test for social learning in two social groups of colobus monkeys, Colobus guereza kikuyuensis. Subjects were shown video footage of familiar monkeys either pushing or pulling a plastic flap to obtain a food reward, while they were given simultaneous access to the same apparatus. Action frequencies showed a significant difference between the two groups, with the pull group performing a higher proportion of pulls to pushes, compared with the push group. Copying persisted even in later sessions during which the demonstration footage was not being shown. We conclude that we successfully generated two contrasting behavioural traditions in these groups of monkeys. We do not know how long this contrast in behaviour would have persisted had we been able to continue testing for an even longer period of time, but further studies using similar designs and even longer test periods would have the power to confirm whether stable behavioural variation can be sustained between groups of monkeys, supported by social transmission.
imitation; social learning; colobus monkey; virtual demonstrator; Behavior, Animal; Apes; Animal intelligence; Primates research
Behavioural Processes: Volume 74, Issue 1