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Knowledgeable Lemurs Become More Central in Social Networks

Author(s): Kulahci, Ipek G.; Ghazanfar, Asif A.; Rubenstein, Daniel I.

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Abstract: Strong relationships exist between social connections and information transmission [1- 9], where individuals' network position plays a key role in whether or not they acquire novel information [2, 3, 5, 6]. The relationships between social connections and information acquisition may be bidirectional if the ability to acquire novel information influences network position besides being influenced by it. Individuals who acquire information quickly and use it frequently may receive more affiliative behaviors than others, and thus achieve a more central network position. However, this possibility has not been theoretically or empirically addressed. To bridge this epistemic gap, we investigated whether ring-tailed lemurs' (Lemur catta) social centrality in affiliation networks changed after they learned how to solve a novel foraging task. Lemurs who engaged in frequent interactions before the learning experiment were more likely to observe and learn the task solution. Comparing social networks before and after the learning experiment revealed that the lemurs who were frequently observed solving the task received more affiliative behaviors than they did before—they became more central after the experiment. This change persisted even after the task was removed and it was not caused by those lemurs initiating more affiliative behaviors towards others. While the factors that influence variation in network position are not fully understood, our results suggest that cognitive variation can play a major role in social centrality, especially when observing and learning from others are advantageous.
Publication Date: Apr-2018
Citation: Kulahci, Ipek G., Ghazanfar, Asif A., Rubenstein, Daniel I. (2018). Knowledgeable Lemurs Become More Central in Social Networks. Current Biology, 28 (8), 1306 - 1310.e2. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.02.079
DOI: doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.02.079
ISSN: 0960-9822
Pages: 1306 - 1310.e2
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Current Biology
Version: Author's manuscript

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