In Experiment 1, adult laying hens observed conspecific demonstrators pecking one of two keys for food reward during 10 daily sessions. Control groups observed untrained conspecifics or no other bird over the same period. In subsequent tests in the response chamber, hens that had observed demonstrators performed more keypecks than hens from control groups, and they showed significant discrimination in favor of the key that their demonstrator had pecked. In Experiment 2, hens observed either conspecific demonstrators or an artificial rod “peck” one of two keys. In subsequent tests, hens that had observed demonstrators again discriminated in favor of the key their demonstrator had pecked. Hens that had observed rod “pecking” made no keypecks in the response chamber. The exact mechanisms involved remain to be elucidated.
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Nicol, C.J., Pope, S.J. Effects of social learning on the acquisition of discriminatory keypecking in hens. Bull. Psychon. Soc. 30, 293–296 (1992). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03330468