Social learning in Society Finches
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Social learning is a phenomenon in which individuals learn new behaviors through watching others, often conspecifics, and it has been demonstrated in many diverse taxa, including birds. However, social learning is a relatively new field, so there is still much research to be done to fully understand what species are capable of it and what behaviors may be socially learned. In this study, Society Finch demonstrators learned a task while being watched by the observer bird. The observer bird was then tested on the same task, and the success times were compared. The tasks included a neophobia test, a problem solving task, and a predator response test. This research will provide us with a greater understanding of social learning, and a better outline of methods that may be effective for studying it. This project was made possible by funding from F&M's Committee on Grants.
Poster presented at the 2017 Closer Look Research Fair at Franklin and Marshall College