Can traditions emerge from the interaction of stimulus enhancement and reinforcement learning? An experimental model

Matthews, L.J., Paukner, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-3421-1864 and Suomi, S.J., 2010. Can traditions emerge from the interaction of stimulus enhancement and reinforcement learning? An experimental model. American Anthropologist, 112 (2), pp. 257-269. ISSN 0002-7294

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Abstract

The study of social learning in captivity and behavioral traditions in the wild are two burgeoning areas of research, but few empirical studies have tested how learning mechanisms produce emergent patterns of tradition. Studies have examined how social learning mechanisms that are cognitively complex and possessed by few species, such as imitation, result in traditional patterns, yet traditional patterns are also exhibited by species that may not possess such mechanisms. We propose an explicit model of how stimulus enhancement and reinforcement learning could interact to produce traditions. We tested the model experimentally with tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), which exhibit traditions in the wild but have rarely demonstrated imitative abilities in captive experiments. Monkeys showed both stimulus enhancement learning and a habitual bias to perform whichever behavior first obtained them a reward. These results support our model that simple social learning mechanisms combined with reinforcement can result in traditional patterns of behavior.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: American Anthropologist
Creators: Matthews, L.J., Paukner, A. and Suomi, S.J.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: June 2010
Volume: 112
Number: 2
ISSN: 0002-7294
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1111/j.1548-1433.2010.01224.xDOI
1427740Other
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 29 Mar 2021 10:45
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:05
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/42622

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