Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 879–901 | Cite as

Social learning and teaching in chimpanzees



There is increasing evidence that some behavioural differences between groups of chimpanzees can be attributed neither to genetic nor to ecological variation. Such differences are likely to be maintained by social learning. While humans teach their offspring, and acquire cultural traits through imitative learning, there is little evidence of such behaviours in chimpanzees. However, by appealing only to incremental changes in motivation, attention and attention-soliciting behaviour, and without expensive changes in cognition, we can hypothesise the possible emergence of imitation and pedagogy in evolutionary history.


Chimpanzees Social learning Imitation Pedagogy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Developmental and Comparative PsychologyMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary AnthropologyLeipzigGermany

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