Public information use in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and children (Homo sapiens)

Gill L. Vale*, Emma G. Flynn, Susan P. Lambeth, Steven J. Schapiro, Rachel L. Kendal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Public information
  • Social cognition
  • Social information
  • Social learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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