Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Social network size predicts social cognitive skills in primates

Date:
June 26, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
The size of a primate's social group can predict cognitive skills related to social abilities, according to new research. The authors compared six lemur species' performance on two tests, a social cognition task that required understanding a competitor's actions and a second test where animals tried to retrieve food placed in a transparent tube, testing their non-social cognitive skills.

These are Ring-tailed Lemurs.
Credit: David Haring

The size of a primate's social group can predict cognitive skills related to social abilities, according to research published June 26 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Evan MacLean and colleagues from Duke University.

The authors compared six lemur species' performance on two tests, a social cognition task that required understanding a competitor's actions and a second test where animals tried to retrieve food placed in a transparent tube, testing their non-social cognitive skills.

A lemur species that usually lives in large, 15 member- groups performed significantly better on the social cognition test than another species that usually lives in smaller groups of approximately five members. On the second test, all the species tested performed on par with one another, regardless of the size of their social groups. Based on these results, the authors conclude that the size of a lemur's social network correlates with their social cognitive skills.

Previous research supports the idea that primates evolved complex cognitive skills as they adapted to life in large social networks. Relative brain size has been correlated with social group size in some monkeys and apes, but the size of lemurs' social groups are not correlated with their brain size. According to the authors, their results reveal the potential for cognitive evolution without a change in brain size.

MacLean elaborates, "Being socially savvy doesn't make you brainy in every domain. Our data suggest that for lemurs, living in large social networks favored the evolution of social intelligence without changing other cognitive abilities for solving nonsocial problems. Interestingly these cognitive changes don't seem to have been accompanied by increases in brain size because species with smaller brains actually performed better than species with bigger brains when it came to social reasoning."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Evan L. MacLean, Aaron A. Sandel, Joel Bray, Ricki E. Oldenkamp, Rachna B. Reddy, Brian A. Hare. Group Size Predicts Social but Not Nonsocial Cognition in Lemurs. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (6): e66359 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066359

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Social network size predicts social cognitive skills in primates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626184013.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, June 26). Social network size predicts social cognitive skills in primates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626184013.htm
Public Library of Science. "Social network size predicts social cognitive skills in primates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626184013.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Social Animals Have More Social Smarts

June 26, 2013 Lemurs from species that hang out in big tribes are more likely to steal food behind your back instead of in front of your face. This behavior suggests that primates who live in larger social groups ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins