The effect of social information from live demonstrators compared to video playback on blue tit foraging decisions
Hämäläinen, Liisa; Rowland, Hannah M.; Mappes Johanna; Thorogood, Rose (2019). The effect of social information from live demonstrators compared to video playback on blue tit foraging decisions. PeerJ, 7, e7998. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.7998
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaBiologisten vuorovaikutusten huippututkimusyksikköEcology and Evolutionary BiologyCenter of Excellence in Biological Interactions Research
© 2019 The Authors
Video playback provides a promising method to study social interactions, and the number of video playback experiments has been growing in recent years. Using videos has advantages over live individuals as it increases the repeatability of demonstrations, and enables researchers to manipulate the features of the presented stimulus. How observers respond to video playback might, however, differ among species, and the efficacy of video playback should be validated by investigating if individuals’ responses to videos are comparable to their responses to live demonstrators. Here, we use a novel foraging task to compare blue tits’ (Cyanistes caeruleus) responses to social information from a live conspecific vs video playback. Birds first received social information about the location of food, and were then presented with a three-choice foraging task where they could search for food from locations marked with different symbols (cross, square, plain white). Two control groups saw only a foraging tray with similar symbols but no information about the location of food. We predicted that socially educated birds would prefer the same location where a demonstrator had foraged, but we found no evidence that birds copied a demonstrator’s choice, regardless of how social information was presented. Social information, however, had an influence on blue tits’ foraging choices, as socially educated birds seemed to form a stronger preference for a square symbol (against two other options, cross and plain white) than the control birds. Our results suggest that blue tits respond to video playback of a conspecific similarly as to a live bird, but how they use this social information in their foraging decisions, remains unclear. ...
Dataset related to the publicationhttps://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7998/supp-2
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Research costs of Academy Professor, AoF; Centre of Excellence, AoF
Additional information about fundingLiisa Hämäläinen was funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and Emil Aaltonen Foundation. Hannah Rowland was supported by a research fellowship from the Institute of Zoology, and is currently supported by the Max Plank Society. Johanna Mappes was supported by the Academy of Finland (#284666 and #320438) and the University of Jyväskylä. Rose Thorogood was supported by an Independent Research Fellowship from the Natural Environment Research Council UK (NE/K00929X/1) and a start-up grant from the Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE), University of Helsinki. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. ...
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