(Director, Francys Subiaul). The Social Cognition Lab is broadly interested in how human and non-human primates extract information from their social environment. Such information may be used to understand the properties and usefulness of tools or to identify conspecifics likely to be good or bad collaborators. Using the methods of experimental psychology, participants are presented with various problem-solving tasks using computers or novel problem-boxes. Using these methods we are interested in the following inter-related questions: (1) what do observers learn from models, (2) why are certain things easier to imitate than others, (3) what are the cognitive building blocks of ‘cultural’ knowledge, (4) what is the relationship between innovation and imitation?
Major equipment: Tobii Eye-tracker; Touch-screen computers
Species: Orang-utans, Gorillas, Human Children
Sample publication: Subiaul, F., Vonk, J., Okamoto-Barth, S. & Barth, J. (2008). Do chimpanzees learn reputation from observation? Evidence from direct and indirection experiences with generous and selfish strangers. Animal Cognition, 11(4): 611-23.