The behaviour of capuchin monkeys, Cebus apella , with novel food: the role of social context

  title={The behaviour of capuchin monkeys,
 Cebus apella
 , with novel food: the role of social context},
  author={Elisabetta Visalberghi and Dorothy Munkenbeck Fragaszy},
  journal={Animal Behaviour},
Social influences affect individual responsiveness to key features of the environment, such as food. Galef (1993,Anim. Behav.,46,257-265) has predicted that social facilitation should affect food choice more powerfully when the food is novel than when it is familiar. This prediction was tested in monkeys. Eleven capuchin monkeys were tested individually (Individual condition) and in a group (Social condition) with eight familiar foods presented simultaneously (experiment 1). In experiment 2… 
Social context and consumption of unfamiliar foods by capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) over repeated encounters
  • E. Visalberghi, Marina Valente, Dorothy Fragaszy
  • Biology
    American journal of primatology
  • 1998
It is concluded that foods remain unfamiliar to capuchins only for the first few encounters, social facilitation of consumption of unfamiliar foods is of limited duration, and individuals consumed equivalent amounts of an unfamiliar food when they repeatedly encountered it alone or in the presence of groupmates.
Acceptance of novel foods in capuchin monkeys: do specific social facilitation and visual stimulus enhancement play a role?
The results support the view that social influences increase acceptance of novel foods or synchronize feeding activities, and foster the individual's diet acquisition, in tufted capuchins, Cebus apella.
Seeing group members eating a familiar food enhances the acceptance of novel foods in capuchin monkeys
It is argued that social facilitation of eating is a quicker way to overcome neophobia and only social facilitating of eating what the others are eating can be considered a safe way to learn about a safe diet.
Infant tufted capuchin monkeys’ behaviour with novel foods: opportunism, not selectivity
It is concluded that acceptance of novel foods in these monkeys occurs readily regardless of socially provided information about edibility, and social interactions do not appear to make important contributions to accepted novel foods by infant capuchin monkeys.
Social communication with food in captive common marmosets ( Callithrix jacchus )
Social transfer of food is important to animals, especially to learn about novel food items and avoid noxious ones. Social transfer of food has been observed in many vertebrates and, amongst
Social facilitation of eating novel food in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella): input provided by group members and responses affected in the observer
Capuchins are habituated to the colors of the novel foods, and seeing group members eating a food does not provide information about the palatability of a differently colored food, so social facilitation of eating should not be considered as a way of learning about a safe diet, but rather as a method of overcoming neophobia.
Individual Variation in Response to Novel Food in Captive Capuchin Monkeys (Sapajus spp.)
Assessment of individual variation in response to novel food in capuchin monkeys in an unconstrained social context observed that neophobia, measured as the latency to retrieve a food item, was more pronounced in lower-ranking than higher-ranking individuals, and that males showed a generally stronger bias than females toward a quicker retrieval of familiar food.
Social contact influences the response of infant marmosets towards novel food
Response Toward Novel Foods and Novel Objects in Wild Cebus apella
Responsibility to novelty in a group of 25–30 wild tufted capuchins (Cebus apella) in Iguazü National Park (Argentina) is investigated, finding capuchin responses were less responsive toward novel objects than toward novel foods; however, although cautious, they ate small amounts of the novel foods.
Social sources of information about foods are apparently important in the development of diet patterns in young rabbits and rats (
To determine whether young capuchin monkeys, Cebus apella, selectively interacted with others concerning novel foods, 11 infants (4.5–12 months) living in two groups were observed following


Functions of social learning about food: a causal analysis of effects of diet novelty on preference transmission
  • B. Galef
  • Psychology, Biology
    Animal Behaviour
  • 1993
The results suggest that social enhancement of flavour preferences does not reinforce rats' inherent tendency to prefer familiar foods and that socially acquired flavour preferences can play an important role in the develop- ment of adaptive patterns of food selection by rats living in natural habitats.
Preliminary data on voluntary food sharing in brown capuchin monkeys
Spontaneous interactions over fruits and vegetables were observed in a captive group of Cebus apella and the voluntary nature of food transfers was further investigated in an experiment in which two monkeys were placed in adjacent cages with a wire‐mesh partition between them.
Social facilitation is shown by gerbils when presented with novel but not with familiar food
Social feeding reverses learned flavor aversions in spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta).
  • S. Yoerg
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Journal of comparative psychology
  • 1991
In this species social factors, such as those operating during group feeding, are sufficiently powerful to attenuate, immediately and dramatically, a strong LiCl-induced aversion.
Urine washing in brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella): Testing social and nonsocial hypotheses
This study tested several hypotheses regarding the functions of urine washing (UW) in a captive group of brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), using observational and experimental methods.
Seasonal variation in use of time and space by the wedge-capped capuchin monkey, Cebus olivaceus : implications for foraging theory
The relationship between the foraging behavior of a group of wedge-capped capuchin monkeys Cebus olivaceus and the abundance and spatial distribution of resources, was examined in a highly seasonal gallery forest in central Venezuela during 14 months to evaluate the behavioral mechanisms regulating group foraging.
Socially Facilitated Behavior
  • D. Clayton
  • Psychology, Biology
    The Quarterly Review of Biology
  • 1978
A more global view of the situations in which socially facilitated behavior can occur is thought to be needed; the investigation of stimulus variables could complement that of motivational, ontogenetic, or social causal influences.
The amount eaten in meals by humans is a power function of the number of people present
The impact of plant secondary compounds on primate feeding behavior
The observed selectivity and preferences of primates for specific plant or insect species and parts are now viewed as strategies for dealing with the nutrient and secondary compound content variation in these foods.
Dietary variability in Cebus apella in extreme habitats: evidence for adaptability.
  • A. D. Brown, G. Zunino
  • Environmental Science
    Folia primatologica; international journal of primatology
  • 1990
The dietary composition of Cebus apella in two subtropical forest environments of Argentina reflects the seasonal availability of potential food resources and the ability of the genus Cebus to exploit resources not accessible to other primate species.