Observational Learning and Social Facilitation in the Rat

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Science  15 Dec 1972:
Vol. 178, Issue 4066, pp. 1220-1221
DOI: 10.1126/science.178.4066.1220


Learning by rats was facilitated when response-relevant cues were provided by other rats; learning increased as a function of number of cues provided. These results suggest that rats can learn by imitation. Learning by rats that observed conspecifics not emitting response-relevant cues was retarded compared to learning by rats that did not observe conspecifics. This indicates that a conspecific's presence can also inhibit learning, a result consistent with social facilitation theory.