Acceptance of novel foods in Cebus apella: do specific social facilitation and visual stimulus enhancement play a role?

Living in groups, as most primate species do, can be of great advantage in learning when, how, and what to feed upon. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that social influences foster the acquisition of a safe diet; we investigated whether or not in tufted capuchins social influences on novel food consumption (already demonstrated for this species) are stronger when the physical characteristics of the food eaten by group members and the novel food presented to the subject are the same.
In Experiment 1, we investigated whether group members eating a food of the same colour (Same colour condition) elicits higher novel food acceptance by the subject than that elicited by group members eating food of a different colour (Different colour condition); in Experiment 2, we provided the subject with a choice between a bowl with novel food whose colour matched the food eaten by group members and a bowl with novel food whose colour did not match. Results showed that the subject spent more time eating the food matching the colour of the group membersÂ’ food, but did not ingest more of it (Experiment 1) and that, when given a choice, the subject did not eat the matching food more than the not-matching food (Experiment 2).
Therefore, since social influences were not directed to a specific food target, the hypothesis that social influences foster the individual's diet acquisition is not supported. Instead, results support the view that social influences increase acceptance of novel foods or synchronise feeding activities.

Publication type: 
Articolo
Author or Creator: 
Visalberghi
E.
Addessi
Publisher: 
Baillie`re Tindall [etc.], London,, Regno Unito
Source: 
Animal behaviour (Print) 65 (2001): 131–142. doi:10.1006/anbe.2001.1787
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Visalberghi, E. & Addessi, E./titolo:Acceptance of novel foods in Cebus apella: do specific social facilitation and visual stimulus enhancement play a role?/doi:10.1006/anbe.2001.1787/rivista:Animal behaviour (Print)/anno:2001/p
Date: 
2001
Resource Identifier: 
http://www.cnr.it/prodotto/i/46671
https://dx.doi.org/10.1006/anbe.2001.1787
info:doi:10.1006/anbe.2001.1787
Language: 
Eng
ISTC Author: 
Elsa Addessi's picture
Real name: