Teaching can teach us a lot
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Animal Behaviour. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Animal Behaviour (2012), doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.01.029
In a recent Commentary, Byrne & Rapaport (2011; henceforth B & R) question the value of the functional perspective on teaching in nonhuman animals in understanding the basis of teaching in humans. They argue that the established operational definition of teaching by Caro & Hauser (1992; henceforth C & H) is overly restrictive, misses instances where teaching serves to correct individual failings in slow learners, and inhibits progress in our understanding of the cognitive underpinnings of human teaching. While we welcome increased focus on the cognitive foundations of teaching, this need not come at the costs of reducing rigour in this nascent field. Here, we mount a defence of the C & H definition and argue that it can be applied at both population and individual levels. We suggest that the development of the field will best be served by considering both whether teaching occurs and, if so, how it is achieved.
Copyright © 2012 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Vol. 83, Iss. 4, pp. e6–e9