Push or pull: an experimental study on imitation in marmosets

  title={Push or pull: an experimental study on imitation in marmosets},
  author={Thomas Bugnyar and Ludwig Huber},
  journal={Animal Behaviour},
A laboratory experiment was conducted in order to explore the possibility of imitation, that is, response learning by observation, in marmosets, Callithrix jacchusInexperienced individuals were allowed to observe a skilful model that demonstrated one of two possible techniques (pushing or pulling a pendulum-door) to get food from inside a wooden box. Their initial manipulative actions, performed when exposed to the box in a subsequent test, were compared with those of naive control subjects… 

Social learning affects object exploration and manipulation in keas, Nestor notabilis

Both the pattern of exploration and the manipulation efficiency of young keas attempting to open a complex food container proved to be influenced by the observation of an experienced group member.

Do rats in a two-action test encode movement egocentrically or allocentrically?

Demonstrator-consistent responding was found to be restricted to observers that were able to see demonstrator performance, suggesting that scent cues alone were insufficient to cue a preference for the demonstrators' response direction and thereby that the rats learned by observation about body movements (imitation) or lever movement (emulation).

A test of imitative learning in starlings using a two-action method with an enhanced ghost control

This study investigates the ability of European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, to imitate the behaviour of a conspecific and provides strong evidence that starlings are capable of imitation.

Testing for social learning and imitation in common marmosets, Callithrix jacchus, using an artificial fruit

It is proposed that the clear differences between the groups suggest that social learning mechanisms provide real benefits to common marmosets in terms of developing novel food-processing skills analogous to the one presented here.

Limitations of a Bidirectional Control Procedure for the Investigation of Imitation in Rats: Odour Cues on the Manipulandum

Magazine-trained observer rats confronted a conspecific demonstrator pushing a joystick to the right or to the left for food reward before the observers were given access to the joystick from the

Social learning in common ravens,Corvus corax

Even though observers initially obtained a considerable amount of reward produced by the models, scrounging evidently did not inhibit learning, and both stimulus enhancement and motor imitation are discussed as possible learning mechanisms.

Push or Pull: Imitation vs. Emulation in Great Apes and Human Children

All four species of great apes and young human children (12–24 mo of age) were administered an imitation task designed to distinguish between results learning (emulation) and action learning

Scrounging facilitates social learning in common marmosets, Callithrix jacchus

We investigated the effect of close social interaction on the ability to learn a new behaviour via observation. The task chosen involved sliding a small door horizontally to gain access to a food

True imitation in marmosets

These results provide further evidence that marmosets can imitate and suggest that hand and mouth demonstrators brought about identical changes in the canisters.

Seeing how it’s done: matching conditions for observer rats (Rattus norvegicus) in the bidirectional control

Abstract In an attempt to increase the reliability of the demonstrator-consistent responding effect produced in the bidirectional control procedure, experiments 1–4 sought conditions that would



Imitation in Rats: Initial Responding and Transfer Evidence

Rats observed a conspecific demonstrator pushing a single manipulandum, a joystick, to the right or to the left for food reward before being given access to the joystick, for the first time, from a different orientation provide evidence that rats are capable of imitation.

A Demonstration of Observational Learning in Rats using a Bidirectional Control

  • C. HeyesG. Dawson
  • Psychology, Biology
    The Quarterly journal of experimental psychology. B, Comparative and physiological psychology
  • 1990
Hungry rats observed a conspecific demonstrator pushing a single manipulandum, a joystick, to the right or to the left for food reward and were then allowed access to the joystick from a different orientation, providing evidence that rats are capable of learning a response, or a response–reinforcer contingency, through Conspecific observation.

Social influences on the acquisition of tool-using behaviors in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella).

It is concluded that capuchins do not readily learn about instrumental relations by observation of others or imitate other's acts, and imitation probably plays no role in the spread of novel instrumental behaviors among monkeys.

Observational learning of tool-use by young chimpanzees

These findings complement naturalistic observations in suggesting that chimpanzee tool-use is in some sense «culturally transmitted» — though perhaps not in the same sense as social-conventional behaviors for which precise copying of conspecifics is crucial.


  • K. Hall
  • Psychology
    British journal of psychology
  • 1963
By and large, there is convincing observational evidence that young monkeys and apes acquire certain basic feeding and avoidance habits chiefly by applying their exploratory tendencies to places and objects indicated in the behaviour of their mothers or others of the group.

CHAPTER 12 – The Evolution of Imitative Learning

Imitation, culture and cognition

  • C. Heyes
  • Psychology, Biology
    Animal Behaviour
  • 1993
It is argued that both imitation (learning about behaviour through nonspecific observation) and social learning can mediate social transmission of information, and that neither is likely to play an important role in supporting behavioural traditions or culture.

Imitation and flattery: a reply to Byrne & Tomasello

  • C. Heyes
  • Psychology, Biology
    Animal Behaviour
  • 1995

“Mental Evolution in Animals”

YOUR correspondent seems to think that I had some particular spite against his skate, and quotes my indulgence to a bear as proof of inconsistency. But the two cases are very different. Even apart