ABS 2022
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From whom do animals learn? A meta-analysis on model-based social learning
Andrés Camacho Alpizar, Lauren M. Guillette. Department of Psychology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Animals may copy others selectively based on particular traits of the demonstrator (e.g. social bond, age, dominant), which is thought to maximize the benefit of social learning. Such biases to copy certain individuals over others can play an important role in how social information is transmitted among individuals and influence the emergence of group-level behaviors (i.e. traditions). Two underlying factors can affect who animals copy: the population social dynamics – with whom you associate (e.g. familiar), and status of the demonstrator (e.g. dominant). We conducted a meta-analysis to answer whether demonstrator traits influence social learning, and if social dynamics-based strategies differ from status-based strategies in their influence on social learning. We extracted effect sizes from papers that used an observer-demonstrator paradigm to test how the traits of the demonstrator influenced social information use by observers. We obtained 146 effect sizes on 33 species from 56 papers. We found that demonstrator traits do influence social learning, and traits based on social dynamics had a significant effect on social learning while traits based on status did not.