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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Vale, G.L., Flynn, E.G., Lambeth, S.P., Schapiro, S.J. & Kendal, R.L. (2014). Public information use in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and children (Homo sapiens). The Journal of Comparative Psychology 128(2): 215-223.

Author(s) from Durham


The discernment of resource quality is pertinent to many daily decisions faced by animals. Public information is a critical information source that promotes quality assessments, attained by monitoring others’ performance. Here we provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, that chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) use public information to guide resource selection. Thirty-two chimpanzees were presented with two simultaneous video demonstrations depicting a conspecific acquiring resources at a fast (resource-rich) or slow (resource-poor) rate. Subsequently, subjects selected the resource-rich site above chance expectation. As a comparison, we report evidence of public information use in young children. Investigation of public information use in primates is pertinent as it can enhance foraging success and potentially facilitate payoff biased social learning.

School of Education