The ability to acquire a behavior can be facilitated by exposure to a conspecific demonstrator. Such social learning occurs under a range of conditions in nature. Here, we tested the idea that social learning can benefit from any available sensory cue, thereby permitting learning under different natural conditions. The ability of naïve gerbils to learn a sound discrimination task following 5 days of exposure adjacent to a demonstrator gerbil was tested in the presence or absence of visual cues. Naïve gerbils acquired the task significantly faster in either condition, as compared to controls. We also found that exposure to a demonstrator was more potent in facilitating learning, as compared to exposure to the sounds used to perform the discrimination task. Therefore, social learning was found to be flexible and equally efficient in the auditory or visual domains.
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