Behaviour 2019
Diffusion Pathways and Trade-offs Between Personal and Social Information Use in Wild Vervet Monkeys
Madison A. Clarke, Christina M. Nord, Tyler R. Bonnell, Matthew Hasenjager, Delaney K. Roth, Samantha Booth, S. P. Henzi, Louise Barrett. University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB, Canada

A wide range of social learning abilities have been identified in vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), but the trade-off between social and personal information use and the diffusion pathways used for social transmission are still not understood. Using three within-experiment social networks, we conducted a network-based diffusion analysis to determine whether information followed any of the three direct observation pathways (visual observation, muzzle contact, and proximity to the patch), and whether learning correlated with various individual attributes, including personality. We found that approximately 27% of animals that learned to drink from a patch did so using social information via visual observation and proximity, while the remaining animals relied on personal information. High-ranking animals and females were more likely to use social information, whereas more neophilic animals and juveniles were more likely to use personal information. We discuss how understanding the trade-offs between social and personal information use in the context of available diffusion pathways can inform how animals learn to cope with environmental change.