Group social rank is associated with performance on a spatial learning task (dataset)
Aggressive interactions between male pheasants (8.877Kb) Outputs from glms on male pheasants performance on spatial discrimination task (17.62Kb) Task performance by male pheasants (6.010Kb) Model summary table from full model of glmm on success on a discrimination task by male pheasants (15.40Kb) Description of data files in repository (14.14Kb)
van Horik, Jayden
Royal Society Open Science
University of Exeter
CC BY 4.0
Dominant individuals differ from subordinates in their performances on cognitive tasks across a suite of taxa. Previous studies often only consider dyadic relationships, rather than the more ecologically relevant social hierarchies or networks, hence failing to account for how dyadic relationships may be adjusted within larger social groups. We used a novel statistical method; Randomized Elo-ratings, to infer the social hierarchy of 18 male pheasants, Phasianus colchicus, while in a captive, mixed sex group with an established, stable hierarchy. We assayed individual learning performance of these males on a binary spatial discrimination task to investigate whether inter-individual variation in performance is associated with group social rank. Task performance improved with increasing trial number and was positively related to social rank, with higher ranking males showing greater levels of success. Motivation to participate in the task was not related to social rank or task performance, thus , indicating that these rank-related differences are not a consequence of differences in motivation to complete the task. Our results provide important information about how variation in cognitive performance relates to an individual’s social rank within a group. Whether the social environment causes differences in learning performance or instead, inherent differences in learning ability predetermine rank remains to be tested.
ERC Consolidator Award (616474)