Imitation learning in budgerigars: Dawson and Foss (1965) revisited
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Dawson and Foss (1985) have reported that each of five naive budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus ) after watching a demonstrator budgerigar use one of three different methods of opening a covered food dish, used the same method as its respective demonstrator to uncover its own food fish. Our first attempt to replicate Dawson and Foss' experiment was unsuccessful and revealed a number of sources of ambiguity in their methods. Modified procedures, removing these ambiguities, produced results confirming those of Dawson and Foss. However, although observer budgies exhibited a significant tendency to use the same method to uncover a food dish as did their respective demonstrators, the effect was both of brief duration and marginal significance. This relative fragility of the Dawson and Foss' (1965) finding renders it unsuitable as a model system for exploring the phenomenon of imitation learning.
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