↓ Skip to main content

Experimentally induced innovations lead to persistent culture via conformity in wild birds

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, December 2014
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (91st percentile)

Readers on

mendeley
473 Mendeley
citeulike
2 CiteULike
Title
Experimentally induced innovations lead to persistent culture via conformity in wild birds
Published in
Nature, December 2014
DOI 10.1038/nature13998
Pubmed ID
Authors

Lucy M. Aplin, Damien R. Farine, Julie Morand-Ferron, Andrew Cockburn, Alex Thornton, Ben C. Sheldon, Aplin LM, Farine DR, Morand-Ferron J, Cockburn A, Thornton A, Sheldon BC, L.M. Aplin, D.R. Farine, J. Morand-Ferron, A. Cockburn, A. Thornton, B.C. Sheldon

Abstract

In human societies, cultural norms arise when behaviours are transmitted through social networks via high-fidelity social learning. However, a paucity of experimental studies has meant that there is no comparable understanding of the process by which socially transmitted behaviours might spread and persist in animal populations. Here we show experimental evidence of the establishment of foraging traditions in a wild bird population. We introduced alternative novel foraging techniques into replicated wild sub-populations of great tits (Parus major) and used automated tracking to map the diffusion, establishment and long-term persistence of the seeded innovations. Furthermore, we used social network analysis to examine the social factors that influenced diffusion dynamics. From only two trained birds in each sub-population, the information spread rapidly through social network ties, to reach an average of 75% of individuals, with a total of 414 knowledgeable individuals performing 57,909 solutions over all replicates. The sub-populations were heavily biased towards using the technique that was originally introduced, resulting in established local traditions that were stable over two generations, despite a high population turnover. Finally, we demonstrate a strong effect of social conformity, with individuals disproportionately adopting the most frequent local variant when first acquiring an innovation, and continuing to favour social information over personal information. Cultural conformity is thought to be a key factor in the evolution of complex culture in humans. In providing the first experimental demonstration of conformity in a wild non-primate, and of cultural norms in foraging techniques in any wild animal, our results suggest a much broader taxonomic occurrence of such an apparently complex cultural behaviour.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 346 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 473 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 17 4%
United Kingdom 10 2%
Germany 7 1%
Japan 5 1%
France 3 <1%
Brazil 3 <1%
Netherlands 2 <1%
Spain 2 <1%
Australia 1 <1%
Other 10 2%
Unknown 413 87%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 152 32%
Student > Master 83 18%
Researcher 75 16%
Student > Bachelor 58 12%
Professor 21 4%
Other 84 18%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 316 67%
Psychology 43 9%
Unspecified 31 7%
Environmental Science 25 5%
Social Sciences 14 3%
Other 44 9%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 417. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 14 October 2017.
All research outputs
#14,500
of 8,947,029 outputs
Outputs from Nature
#1,980
of 49,269 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#403
of 243,568 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Nature
#71
of 885 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 8,947,029 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 49,269 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 76.4. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 243,568 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 885 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its contemporaries.