Imitative Learning in Male Japanese Quail (Coturnix japonica) Using the Two-Action Method

Chana K. Akins, Thomas R. Zentall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


The study of imitative learning in animals has suffered from the presence of a number of confounding motivational and attentional factors (e.g., social facilitation and stimulus enhancement). The two-action method avoids these problems by exposing observers to demonstrators performing a response (e.g., operating a treadle) using 1 of 2 distinctive topographies (e.g., by pecking or by stepping). Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) observers exposed to conspecific demonstrators showed a high correlation between the topography of the response they observed and the response they performed. These data provide strong evidence for the existence of true imitative learning in an active, precocious bird under conditions that control for alternative accounts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-320
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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