Location of Repository

Conformist learning in nine-spined sticklebacks’ foraging decisions

By Thomas W. Pike and Kevin N. Laland

Abstract

Theoretical analyses have reported that in most circumstances where natural selection favours reliance on social learning, conformity (positive frequency-dependent social learning) is also favoured. These findings suggest that much animal social learning should involve a copy-the-majority strategy, yet there is currently surprisingly little evidence for conformist learning among animals. Here, we investigate this possibility in the nine-spined stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) by manipulating the number of demonstrator fish at two feeders, one rich and one poor, during a demonstration phase and evaluating how this affects the likelihood that the focal fish copy the demonstrators' apparent choices. As predicted, we observed a significantly increased level of copying with increasing numbers of demonstrators at the richer of the two feeders, with copying increasing disproportionately, rather than linearly, with the proportion of demonstrators at the rich foraging patch. Control conditions with non-feeding demonstrators showed that this was not simply the result of a preference for shoaling with larger groups, implying that nine-spined sticklebacks copy in a conformist manner

Topics: C120 Behavioural Biology
Publisher: Royal Society Publishing
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.1014
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lincoln.ac.uk:4411
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/4... (external link)
  • http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl... (external link)
  • http://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/4... (external link)
  • Suggested articles


    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.