Chicken See, Chicken Do: Observational Learning and Social Relationships in Gallus gallus domesticus

 

Becky Nissen
Presented: Spring 2015
Committee: Bob Eckstein, Jessa Madosky, Laura Lengnick

Observational, or social, learning is a type of learning whereby an individual learns from the example of another individual. It is a useful ability especially in unpredictable situations where reliance on instinct or trial-and-error learning alone may not be worthwhile or productive to continued existence. This ability has been described in many species, including Gallus gallus domesticus, the chicken. However, there does not seem to have been much study done into connections between social learning and prior existing social relationships between individuals. In this study, I attempted to test whether there was such a correlation in week-old chicks.