Goats favour personal over social information in an experimental foraging task

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

27 Scopus Citations
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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere172
Journal / PublicationPeerJ
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2013
Externally publishedYes

Link(s)

Abstract

Animals can use their environments more efficiently by selecting particular sources of information (personal or social), according to specific situations. Group-living animals may benefit from gaining information based on the behaviour of other individuals. Indeed, social information is assumed to be faster and less costly to use than personal information, thus increasing foraging efficiency. However, when food sources change seasonally or are randomly distributed, individual information may become more reliable than social information. The aim of this study was to test the use of conflicting personal versus social information in goats (Capra hircus), in a foraging task. We found that goats relied more on personal than social information, when both types of information were available and in conflict. No effect of social rank was found on the occasions when goats followed other demonstrator goats. Goats are selective browsers/grazers and therefore relying on personal rather than social information could be the most efficient way to find patchily distributed resources in highly variable environments. Studies testing specific assumptions regarding the use of different sources of information can extend our understanding of decision making, including observed patterns of social learning. © 2013 Baciadonna et al.

Research Area(s)

  • Capra hircus, Decision making, Information use, Patch assessment, Personal information, Social learning

Citation Format(s)

Goats favour personal over social information in an experimental foraging task. / Baciadonna, Luigi; McElligott, Alan G.; Briefer, Elodie F.
In: PeerJ, 24.09.2013.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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