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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 October 2009

Dorothy M. Fragaszy
Affiliation:
Professor of Psychology and the Chair of the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, University of Georgia
Susan Perry
Affiliation:
Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles
Dorothy M. Fragaszy
Affiliation:
University of Georgia
Susan Perry
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
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Summary

For many decades, the scientific discussion about social learning in nonhuman animals has been dominated by two concerns: (1) whether any nonhuman species, but ape species in particular, possess “culture”, and (2) which nonhuman species exhibit imitation, assumed by many to be a prerequisite or at the least an important support for culture. However, from a biological point of view, these questions only narrowly address fundamental issues about social learning in nonhuman animals. Their link to functional, developmental, and evolutionary questions is not obvious, for example. We wanted to know about these latter topics, as well as more broadly about mechanisms supporting social learning, so we set about asking our colleagues what they thought. We got many answers that we felt were worthy of better dissemination than they were receiving in the literature or in the classroom. This book is the result.

This book is intended for individuals interested in understanding social learning (the common short-hand phrase for what is more precisely called socially aided learning) in animals from a biological perspective. We focus on one outcome of social learning, traditions, as an element in behavioral ecology. By tradition, we mean a distinctive behavior pattern shared by two or more individuals in a social unit, which persists over time and that new practitioners acquire in part through socially aided learning. The process of social learning does not lead inevitably to enduring traditions, however.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Biology of Traditions
Models and Evidence
, pp. xiii - xvi
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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References

Boesch, C. and Tomasello, M. 1998. Chimpanzee and human cultures. Current Anthropology, 39, 91–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kamil, A. 1998. On the proper definition of cognitive ethology. In Animal Cognition in Nature, ed. R. Balda, I. Pepperberg, and A. Kamil, pp. 1–28. New York: Academic Press
Marler, P. 1996. Social cognition. Are primates smarter than birds? In Current Ornithology, Vol 13, ed. V. Nolan Jr. and E. D. Ketterson, pp. 1–32. New York: Plenum Press
Matsuzawa, T., Biro, D., Humle, T., Inoue-Nakamura, N., Tonooka, R., and Yamakoshi, G. 2001. Emergence of culture in wild chimpanzees: education by master–apprenticeship. In Primate Origins of Human Cognition and Behavior, ed. T. Matsuzawa, pp. 557–574. Tokyo: Springer Verlag
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Schaik, C., Deaner, R., and Merrill, M. 1999. The conditions for tool use in primates: implications for the evolution of material culture. Journal of Human Evolution, 36, 719–741CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Whiten, A., Goodall, J., McGrew, W., Nishida, T., Reynolds, V., Sugiyama, Y., Tutin, C., Wrangham, R., and Boesch, C. 1999. Cultures in chimpanzees. Nature, 399, 682–685CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Whiten, A., Goodall, J., McGrew, W., Nishida, T., Reynolds, V., Sugiyama, Y., Tutin, C., Wrangham, R., and Boesch, C. 2001. Charting cultural variation in chimpanzees. Behaviour, 138, 1481–1516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  • Preface
    • By Dorothy M. Fragaszy, Professor of Psychology and the Chair of the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, University of Georgia, Susan Perry, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Edited by Dorothy M. Fragaszy, University of Georgia, Susan Perry, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Book: The Biology of Traditions
  • Online publication: 27 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511584022.001
Available formats
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Send book to Dropbox

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  • Preface
    • By Dorothy M. Fragaszy, Professor of Psychology and the Chair of the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, University of Georgia, Susan Perry, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Edited by Dorothy M. Fragaszy, University of Georgia, Susan Perry, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Book: The Biology of Traditions
  • Online publication: 27 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511584022.001
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
    • By Dorothy M. Fragaszy, Professor of Psychology and the Chair of the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, University of Georgia, Susan Perry, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Edited by Dorothy M. Fragaszy, University of Georgia, Susan Perry, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Book: The Biology of Traditions
  • Online publication: 27 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511584022.001
Available formats
×