Social learning in animals

This topic has expert replies
Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Posts: 160
Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Thanked: 1 times
Followed by:1 members

Social learning in animals

by Sharma_Gaurav » Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:10 am
Social learning in animals
is said to occur when direct
or indirect social interaction
Line facilitates the acquisition
(5) of a novel behavior. It
usually takes the form of
an experienced animal (the
demonstrator) performing a
behavior such that the naive
(10) animal (the observer) subsequently
expresses the
same behavior sooner, or
more completely, than it
would have otherwise. One
(15) example of social learning
is the acquisition of preferences
for novel foods.

Some experiments
have suggested that among
(20) mammals, social learning
facilitates the identification
of beneficial food items,
but that among birds, social
learning helps animals
(25) avoid toxic substances.
For example, one study
showed that when red-wing
blackbirds observed others
consuming a colored food
(30) or a food in a distinctly
marked container and then
becoming ill, they subsequently
avoided food
associated with that color
(35) or container. Another
experiment showed that
house sparrows consumed
less red food after they
observed others eating
(40) red food that was treated
so as to be noxious. Studies
on nonavian species have
not produced similar results,
leading researchers to
(45) speculate that avian social
learning may be fundamentally
different from that of
mammals.

But Sherwin's recent
(50) experiments with domestic
hens do not support the
notion that avian social
learning necessarily facilitates
aversion to novel
(55) foods that are noxious or
toxic. Even when demonstrator
hens reacted with
obvious disgust to a specific
food, via vigorous head
(60) shaking and bill wiping,
there was no evidence that
observers subsequently
avoided eating that food.
Sherwin's research team
(65) speculated that ecological
or social constraints during
the evolution of this species
might have resulted in there
being little benefit from the
(70) social learning of unpalatability,
for instance,
selective pressures for this
mode of learning would be
reduced if the birds rarely
(75) encountered noxious or
toxic food or rarely interacted
after eating such food,
or if the consequences of
ingestion were minimal.
(80) In a related experiment,
the same researchers
showed that if observer
hens watched demonstrator
hens react favorably to food
(85) of a particular color, then
observer hens ate more
food of that color than they
ate of food of other colors.
These results confirmed that
(90) avian species can develop
preferences for palatable
food through social learning.

Q3:
The primary purpose of the passage is to discuss the
A. techniques used in certain experiments on social learning in birds
B. reasons for the differences between social learning in birds and in mammals
C. question of how social learning manifests itself in birds
D. basis for a widespread belief about a difference in behavior between birds and
mammals
E. possible reasons why birds may or may not learn from each other in a particular
way
Answer:

I selected B first but , then understood, that there is only one such reason mentiojed in passage ( and not Reasons ) hence looks like E is the best among the lot . Please explain ?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q4:
Missing!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q5:
According to the passage, which of the following is true of the experiments on domestic
hens conducted by Sherwin's research team?
A. Only a small number of observer hens appeared to learn to avoid food that was
demonstrated by other hens to be noxious.
B. Observer hens ingested food preferentially only after numerous instances of
witnessing demonstrator hens preferentially ingest that type of food.
C. Observer hens appeared unable to recognize when demonstrator hens found a
particular food especially palatable.
D. Demonstrator hens reacted adversely to ingesting certain novel foods.
E. Demonstrator hens altered their behavior less obviously in response to noxious
foods than in response to highly palatable foods.
Answer:

This one i think D is the answer . Please xplain ?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q6:
It can be inferred that the author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which
of the following statements regarding the results of the recent experiments conducted by
Sherwin's research team?
A. The experiments demonstrate that social learning in avian species facilitates the
identification of noxious or toxic foods.
B. The experiments suggest that social learning has made avian species less adept
than nonavian species at learning to prefer beneficial foods and avoid noxious and
toxic foods.
C. The experiments undermine the notion that most avian species have evolved in
environments where there is little benefit to the social learning of unpalatability.
D. The experiments suggest that the acquisition of food preferences in avian species
is largely unaffected by social learning.
E. The experiments show that social learning in avian species can promote the
preferential consumption of beneficial foods but do not support the claim that
social learning in avian species promotes the avoidance of noxious or toxic foods.
Answer:
This one i got right
no issues with this.

Legendary Member
Posts: 520
Joined: 14 Jun 2010
Thanked: 70 times
Followed by:6 members

by niksworth » Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:30 am
Sharma_Gaurav wrote:
Q3:
The primary purpose of the passage is to discuss the
A. techniques used in certain experiments on social learning in birds - Incorrect - The author has not written this passage to discuss what techniques are used in experiments on social learning. His focus is on social learning itself.
B. reasons for the differences between social learning in birds and in mammals - Incorrect - Not discussed at all about mammals and just 1 reason for bird.
C. question of how social learning manifests itself in birds - Correct. This is the underlying theme on which every discussion revolves. The author shows how it is seen in certain birds but not in other birds. He also points out some reasons for the role of social learning in disparity in behavior of birds with different kinds of foods. The passage begins with the definition of social learning and ends with how birds learn about food palatability through social learning.
D. basis for a widespread belief about a difference in behavior between birds and
mammals - Incorrect - Not discussed.
E. possible reasons why birds may or may not learn from each other in a particular
way - Incorrect. Too narrow - Only discussed in the later half of the passage.
Answer:

I selected B first but , then understood, that there is only one such reason mentiojed in passage ( and not Reasons ) hence looks like E is the best among the lot . Please explain ?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q4:
Missing!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q5:
According to the passage, which of the following is true of the experiments on domestic
hens conducted by Sherwin's research team?
A. Only a small number of observer hens appeared to learn to avoid food that was
demonstrated by other hens to be noxious. - Incorrect. It is not shown that even a small number of observer hens appeared to learn to avoid food.
B. Observer hens ingested food preferentially only after numerous instances of
witnessing demonstrator hens preferentially ingest that type of food. - Incorrect. Nothing like this is indicated in the passage.
C. Observer hens appeared unable to recognize when demonstrator hens found a
particular food especially palatable. - Incorrect. Again, nothing like this is indicated. In fact, the passage does not indicate any difficulty in recognition by observer hens.
D. Demonstrator hens reacted adversely to ingesting certain novel foods. - Correct. Refer to the following lines. Even when demonstrator hens reacted with obvious disgust to a specific food, via vigorous head shaking and bill wiping
E. Demonstrator hens altered their behavior less obviously in response to noxious
foods than in response to highly palatable foods. - Incorrect. Quite the contrary. It is shown that demonstrator hens nade their body language very clear when given noxious food.
Answer:

This one i think D is the answer . Please xplain ?
scio me nihil scire

Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Posts: 379
Joined: 07 Apr 2010
Location: Chennai,India
Thanked: 3 times

by paddle_sweep » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:06 pm
Q3 - Will go with 'C'.

Q5 - Chose 'C' initially but Sharma_Gaurav's explanation is good.

Q6 - Will go with 'E'.

User avatar
Legendary Member
Posts: 2077
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
Location: New York City Metro Area and Worldwide Online
Thanked: 955 times
Followed by:139 members
GMAT Score:800

by [email protected] » Sun Jun 19, 2016 5:15 am
Q3: The primary purpose of the passage is to discuss the

A. techniques used in certain experiments on social learning in birds

There is a lot of discussion of experiments, but notice, the results are discussed more than are the techniques.

B. reasons for the differences between social learning in birds and in mammals

Only that they "may be fundamentally different" is mentioned. There is no discussion of the reasons for any differences. This answer could trap someone who is just going with what sounds right. Mammals and birds are mentioned and reasons for differences in social learning among birds are mentioned. So as usual you have to be careful and really notice what is being said and what is not being said in order to get this question right.

C. question of how social learning manifests itself in birds

There is extensive discussion of this topic. Different kinds of birds and their particular types of social learning are discussed. In fact, the passage is mostly about a particular question, the question of whether birds can, like mammals, "can develop preferences for palatable food through social learning." While this answer choice does not say that exactly, it is the choice closest to what the passage is about.

D. basis for a widespread belief about a difference in behavior between birds and mammals

The basis, some experiments, for the belief that mammals and birds learn different things from each other about food is discussed, but much more is going on.

E. possible reasons why birds may or may not learn from each other in a particular
way

This is only briefly discussed in the part about chickens.

The correct answer is C.
Marty Murray
Chief Curriculum and Content Architect
[email protected]

Image

See why Target Test Prep is rated 5 out of 5 stars on Beat the GMAT. Read our reviews.

Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Posts: 367
Joined: 05 Jun 2015
Thanked: 3 times
Followed by:2 members

by NandishSS » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:32 pm
HI Ceilidh, Guru, Max

4) Which of the following best describes the main purpose of the first paragraph of the passage?

A. It explains why a particular behavior discussed in the remainder of the passage is beneficial to the animals that engage in it.
B. It introduces a concept that has been widely misunderstood among nonscientists.
C. It outlines the types of studies that have been conducted to investigate a certain animal behavior.
D. It provides information necessary to understand the nature of the phenomenon discussed in the remainder of the passage.
E. It describes a viewpoint that is called into question later in the passage.

[spoiler=]OA: D[/spoiler]
Why is A wrong? Is it not Social learning is introduced and how Avians are followed?


5) According to the passage, Sherwin's research team speculated that the social learning of unpalatability within a particular species might be discouraged if the animals

A. did not suffer serious effects from any noxious or toxic foods they ingested
B. consumed food in small quantities throughout the day rather than in a few large feedings
C. had an unusually large variety of foods available to them
D. interacted after feeding as well as during feeding
E. did not show signs of illness until considerable time had passed following the ingestion of noxious or toxic food

[spoiler]OA: A[/spoiler]
POE, please

6) The passage indicates that which of the following is true about studies of social learning in mammals?

A. Such studies have only rarely demonstrated a capacity among mammals to learn to prefer certain foods via observation of other animals.
B. Such studies have suggested that in mammals one function of social learning is to establish preferences for novel foods.
C. Such studies have demonstrated some capacity among mammals to learn via observation of other animals to avoid ingestion of toxic substances.
D. Such studies have been conducted primarily in the mammals' natural habitats rather than in laboratory settings.
E. Such studies have focused primarily on forms of social learning other than the acquisition of preferences for novel foods.


[spoiler=]OA: B[/spoiler]
Can you Please explain why is C Wrong?