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# Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or

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Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2005, 02:00
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Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or indirect social interaction facilitates the acquisition of a novel behavior. It usually takes the form of an experienced animal (the demonstrator) performing a behavior such that the native animal (the observer) subsequently expresses the same behavior sooner, or more completely, than it would have otherwise. One example of social learning is the acquisition of preferences for novel foods.

Some experiments have suggested that among mammals, social learning facilitates the identification of beneficial food items, but that among birds, social learning helps animals avoid toxic substances. For example, one study showed that when red-wing blackbirds observed others consuming a colored food or a food in a distinctly marked container and then becoming ill, they subsequently avoided food associated with that color or container. Another experiment showed that house sparrows consumed less red food after they observed others eating red food that was treated so as to be noxious. Studies on non-avian species have not produced similar results, leading researchers to speculate that avian social learning may be fundamentally different from that of mammals.

But Sherwin's recent experiments with domestic hens do not support the notion that avian social learning necessarily facilitates aversion to novel foods that are noxious or toxic. Even when demonstrator hens reacted with obvious disgust to a specific food, via vigorous head shaking and bill wiping, there was no evidence that observers subsequently avoided eating that food. Sherwin's research team speculated that ecological or social constraints during the evolution of this species might have resulted in there being little benefit from the social learning of unpalatability, for instance, selective pressures for this mode of learning would be reduced if the birds rarely encountered noxious or toxic food or rarely interacted after eating such food, or if the consequences of ingestion were minimal. In a related experiment the same researchers showed that if observer hens watched demonstrator hens react favorably to food of a particular color, then observer hens ate more food of that color than they ate of food of other colors. These results confirmed that avian species can develop preferences for palatable food through social learning.
1: The primary purpose of the passage is to discuss the

A: techniques used in certain experiments on social learning in birds
B: reasons for the differences between social learning in birds and in mammals
C: question of how social learning manifests itself in birds
D: basis for a widespread belief about a difference in behavior between birds and mammals
E: possible reasons why birds may or may not learn from each other in a particular way

[Reveal] Spoiler:
C

2: According to the passage, which of the following is true of the experiments on domestic hens conducted by Sherwin's research team?

A: Only a small number of observer hens appeared to learn to avoid food that was demonstrated by other hens to be noxious.
B: Observer hens ingested food preferentially only after numerous instances of witnessing demonstrator hens preferentially ingest that type of food.
C: Observer hens appeared unable to recognize when demonstrator hens found a particular food especially palatable.
D: Demonstrator hens reacted adversely to ingesting certain novel foods.
E: Demonstrator hens altered their behavior less obviously in response to noxious foods than in response to highly palatable foods.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
D

3: It can be inferred that the author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements regarding the results of the recent experiments conducted by Sherwin's research team?

A: The experiments demonstrate that social learning in avian species facilitates the identification of noxious or toxic foods.
B: The experiments suggest that social learning has made avian species less adept than nonavian species at learning to prefer beneficial foods and avoid noxious and toxic foods.
C: The experiments undermine the notion that most avian species have evolved in environments where there is little benefit to the social learning of unpalatability.
D: The experiments suggest that the acquisition of food preferences in avian species is largely unaffected by social learning.
E: The experiments show that social learning in avian species can promote the preferential consumption of beneficial foods but do not support the claim that social learning in avian species promotes the avoidance of noxious or toxic foods.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
E

Correction done on 11/10/2016. Updated Q2 OA per GMATPrep software - Keats
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #1 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #2 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #3 OA
If you have any questions
you can ask an expert
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2005, 08:06
1. D (Stated just after line 40 in the passage)
2. E (unless there is a better answer for C/D)
3. E (Stated in the ;ast two lines of the passage)
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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25 Oct 2005, 03:40
1. E
-> I think D is wrong. The passage does not discuss "behavior".
There should be 'learning'-related word.

2. None(maybe C or D)
-> I think E is wrong. The opposite of E is true(i.e., more obviously)

3. E
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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09 Sep 2007, 13:36
How do you guys deal with 'primary purpose' questions in RC? Most of the time I am not able to come up with right choice?

For 2), Sets say E is the answer. I don't agree. Curious what others may think?
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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20 May 2008, 20:52
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bumping up the thread...

I picked E for 1.
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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20 May 2008, 21:24
I would say for 1 C or E
2 C/D But E could be right since the sets say so
3 E (as mentioned in the last 2 lines of the passage)
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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21 May 2008, 04:43
1. D or E
2. E
3. E

OA?
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2011, 02:21
I think the first two answers both should be C

1st: reading carefully about the second paragraph, the author mentioned: Some experiments have suggested that among mammals, social learning facilitates the identification of beneficial food items, but that among birds, social learning helps animals avoid toxic substances.

While at the beginning of the 3rd paragraph,the authored said: But Sherwin’s recent experiments with domestic hens do not support the notion that avian social learning necessarily facilitates aversion to novel foods that are noxious or toxic.

And at the end of the last paragraph: These results confirmed that avian species can develop preferences for palatable food through social learning.

Obviously, the authore do not agree that birds only menifest social learning in choose nontoxic food and explained why.

With regard to the second question, I find this information from the passage: Even when demonstrator hens reacted with obvious disgust to a specific food(in the second paragraph)

Obviously, C paraphrase this sentence. adversely---disgust certain food--specific food
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2011, 21:31
My IMO is E,A,E.
but frankly speaking, I see no correct answer for question 1 and 2.
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2011, 12:02
IMO - answer to 1st question is C.

Option A - Discarded because the intention is not to discuss the techniques, it is done in the process of a discussion.
Option B - It is a part of the passage, but not the main purpose of the passage.
Option D - The author is not providing any basis
Option E - straightaway discarded
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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19 Jul 2011, 22:43
bsaikrishna wrote:
IMO - answer to 1st question is C.

Option A - Discarded because the intention is not to discuss the techniques, it is done in the process of a discussion.
Option B - It is a part of the passage, but not the main purpose of the passage.
Option D - The author is not providing any basis
Option E - straightaway discarded

I agree for 1st C is the best option.
2. E
3. E

can someone post OA please.
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2011, 16:13
What I understood from passage:

1st paragraph talks about social learning in animals can occur directly or indirectly. how mammals behaves differently than birds. How birds can identify toxic food with examples and experiments.

2nd paragraph, Sherwin experiment on hens did not support the notion of avian social learning for identifying the food is toxic. In next experiment of the birds on with color food confirmed that avian species can develop preferences for palatable food through social learning

My answers are

1. E
2. C or D
3. E
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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09 Aug 2011, 18:29
D
C or D
E

For Q1, the passage states the Mammals are different from Birds on social learning. But experiments proves that Birds are also similar to Mammals that avian spieces can also learn about preferential food thru social learning. So choose D

OA?
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12 Aug 2011, 08:30
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Quote:
1: The primary purpose of the passage is to discuss the
A: techniques used in certain experiments on social learning in birds
B: reasons for the differences between social learning in birds and in mammals
C: question of how social learning manifests itself in birds
D: basis for a widespread belief about a difference in behavior between birds and mammals
E: possible reasons why birds may or may not learn from each other in a particular way

1. C

I saw a lot of confusion in the message board. Some one even listed the OA as E - but I looked around and seemed to find the source where the answer was C which was my opinion.

This is a "primary purpose" question so you need to connect the dots. That is one of the main strategies I teach and actually show in my videos. Very difficult to do with text but I'll try here.

Social learning definition
->One Example
->Some experiments: Mammals (identification of good foods), BUT for birds it's identifying BAD foods
->Another experiment: confirmed the above, social learning helps birds AVOID BAD food

->BUT Sherwin's experiment, no support for above hypothesis. Does NOT help birds AVOID BAD food (at least among certain specifies)
->In related experiment, birds (hens in this case) FAVOR GOOD food through social learning

Seems like author was trying to figure out how exactly social learning works for birds. Does it help them AVOID BAD food, or does it help them IDENTIFY GOOD FOOD. For some species, it's the first. For others it's the second. SO, what is the primary purpose of the passage?

Well, I outlined the passage above - this is what should go on in your HEAD as you read the passage. It just took a lot more effort to write it out- but this process should occur very fast in your head if you are reading correctly.

Notice that to qualify as a correct answer for a "Primary Purpose" question, it needs to connect all the dots of the passage summary.

I'll address E. It's true the passage jumps back and forth whether birds MAY or MAY NOT learn from each other. Does social learning apply when avoiding bad food? sometimes yes, sometimes no. Does it apply when identifying good food? yes and no. But the author is not in search of REASONS why this is the case. Merely finding instances of yes vs no and stating the experiment and presenting the information. Yes, some amount of "reasons" were provided such as the evolution of the species and how some species had more ingestion concerns than others. But that is a DETAIL. So, not only is this detailed stuff that might not allow us to connect the dots of the pasage, but it also uses the word "REASONS" which the passage certainly doesn't spend A LOT of time doing. If that were the primary purpose, we would have reasons presented in every paragraph of the passage - but this is not the case.

The others you should be able to eliminate. But you'll see that C - "discuss the question of how social learning manifests itself in birds". Yes, the author is presenting information about how social learning works for birds (not reasons whether they may or may not learn (E). How does it work for birds? Well for some birds, it helps them avoid bad foods. For others, it helps them identify good foods. That's how "social learning" is manifested in birds, manifested by the information/experiments the author cites.
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29 Oct 2013, 10:02
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2015, 11:11
Hi GMATPill:
carcass
Can u please question 2??
I am not getting from which part is the correct answer refering from??
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2015, 01:03
Question No 2 -

It is mentioned in the third paragraph - That demonstrator hens reacted with "obvious disgust" to a specific food (unpalatability) while in a related experiment demonstrator hens "react favorably"(This process results in observer hens develop preferenes for palatable food through social learning).

This understanding is mentioned in option E in which it is stated that demostrator hens will less obviously change in reponse to noxious foods (unpalatability) than in response to highly palatable foods.
Hope it helps!
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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10 Aug 2016, 02:26
Took 8 mins and 30 seconds , including 3 mins to read

-The author is primarily concerned with social learning in birds
- He describes experiments conducted to determine how social learning manifests itself in avian species

1.
Answer C

2.
Answer E

3.
It can be inferred…
"Sherwin’s research team speculated that ecological or social constraints during the evolution of this species might have resulted in there being little benefit from the social learning of unpalatability "
AND
"These results confirmed that avian species can develop preferences for palatable food through social learning"

Option (E) clearly describes the above two excerpts and is therefore correct.
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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29 Aug 2016, 10:28
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The OA to Q 2 is NOT E. I encountered this question in my GMAT Prep mock today and the software shows the correct answer as (D). The original poster has not transcribed the problem options correctly.

(D) Demonstrator hens reacted adversely to ingesting certain novel foods.

Now can anyone explain me why (E) is incorrect!

I hope someone takes the courage to answer this now. Thanks!
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Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or [#permalink]

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04 Sep 2016, 04:44
Keats wrote:
The OA to Q 2 is NOT E. I encountered this question in my GMAT Prep mock today and the software shows the correct answer as (D). The original poster has not transcribed the problem options correctly.

(D) Demonstrator hens reacted adversely to ingesting certain novel foods.

Now can anyone explain me why (E) is incorrect!

I hope someone takes the courage to answer this now. Thanks!

Same stuff - the software marks D as the right answer! I answered E, which is the best option IMO. The option E is not mentioned in the passage, since the only thing that is related to the topic is that "Even when demonstrator hens reacted with obvious disgust to a specific food". IMO this is far from option D, since doesn't mention the reaction to NEW food.
Re: Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or   [#permalink] 04 Sep 2016, 04:44

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# Social learning in animals is said to occur when direct or

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