Dominance and social information use in a lizard

Dominance and social information use in a lizard There is mounting evidence that social learning is not just restricted to group-living animals, but also occurs in species with a wide range of social systems. However, we still have a poor understanding of the factors driving individual differences in social information use. We investigated the effects of relative dominance on social information use in the eastern water skink (Eulamprus quoyii), a species with age-dependent social learning. We used staged contests to establish dominant–subordinate relationships in pairs of lizards and tested whether observers use social information to more quickly solve both an association and reversal learning task in situations where the demonstrator was either dominant or subordinate. Surprisingly, we found no evidence of social information use, irrespective of relative dominance between observer and demonstrator. However, dominant lizards learnt at a faster rate than subordinate lizards in the associative learning task, although there were no significant differences in the reversal task. In light of previous work in this species, we suggest that age may be a more important driver of social information use because demonstrators and observers in our study were closely size-matched and were likely to be of similar age. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Animal Cognition Springer Journals

Dominance and social information use in a lizard

Dominance and social information use in a lizard

Anim Cogn (2017) 20:805–812 DOI 10.1007/s10071-017-1101-y OR IGINAL PAPER 1,2 1 1,2 • • Fonti Kar Martin J. Whiting Daniel W. A. Noble Received: 11 October 2016 / Revised: 14 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published online: 2 June 2017 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017 Abstract There is mounting evidence that social learning Keywords Social learning  Private information  Social is not just restricted to group-living animals, but also status  Social rank  Reptile occurs in species with a wide range of social systems. However, we still have a poor understanding of the factors driving individual differences in social information use. Introduction We investigated the effects of relative dominance on social information use in the eastern water skink (Eulamprus The social environment is a rich source of information that quoyii), a species with age-dependent social learning. We can be used in individual decision-making and learning. used staged contests to establish dominant–subordinate Social information allows observers to shortcut trial-and- relationships in pairs of lizards and tested whether obser- error learning, thereby bypassing the costs associated with vers use social information to more quickly solve both an individual learning (Boyd and Richerson 1995; Shettle- association and reversal learning task in situations where worth 2010 pp. 468). Costs, such as the time and energy the demonstrator was either dominant or subordinate. expended acquiring new information and the increased risk Surprisingly, we found no evidence of social information of predation while sampling the environment, should favor use, irrespective of relative dominance between observer the use of social information (Rieucau and Giraldeau and demonstrator. However, dominant lizards learnt at a 2011). However, social information use is not inherently faster rate than subordinate lizards in the associative adaptive, and theoretical analyses suggest that...
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Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Subject
Life Sciences; Behavioral Sciences; Zoology; Psychology Research
ISSN
1435-9448
eISSN
1435-9456
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10071-017-1101-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

There is mounting evidence that social learning is not just restricted to group-living animals, but also occurs in species with a wide range of social systems. However, we still have a poor understanding of the factors driving individual differences in social information use. We investigated the effects of relative dominance on social information use in the eastern water skink (Eulamprus quoyii), a species with age-dependent social learning. We used staged contests to establish dominant–subordinate relationships in pairs of lizards and tested whether observers use social information to more quickly solve both an association and reversal learning task in situations where the demonstrator was either dominant or subordinate. Surprisingly, we found no evidence of social information use, irrespective of relative dominance between observer and demonstrator. However, dominant lizards learnt at a faster rate than subordinate lizards in the associative learning task, although there were no significant differences in the reversal task. In light of previous work in this species, we suggest that age may be a more important driver of social information use because demonstrators and observers in our study were closely size-matched and were likely to be of similar age.

Journal

Animal CognitionSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 2, 2017

References

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