The 3E's Approach to Social Information Use in Birds: Ecology, Ethology, and Evolutionary History

Edited by Ira G. Federspiel, Nicola S. Clayton and Nathan J. Emery

in Cognitive Ecology II

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226169354
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226169378 | DOI:
The 3E's Approach to Social Information Use in Birds: Ecology, Ethology, and Evolutionary History

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  • Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology


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This chapter illustrates how integrating knowledge about animals' natural behavior, ecology, and evolutionary history with the powerful empirical techniques of experimental psychology has helped us to understand the use of social information by different bird species. To understand these mechanisms and to define the ways in which they differ between species, an integrative approach must be adopted combining the 3Es with knowledge of experimental psychology, to obtain rigorous experimental validity. More comparative work is clearly needed to determine the influence of ecology and evolutionary history on social information use, and experiments using different tasks should shed light on whether the capacity to use social information is domain specific. The knowledge of the 3Es can thus be used to influence a particular species' life history, not only to drive the development of appropriate research questions and methodology but also to provide post hoc explanations of successes and failures in psychological experiments.

Keywords: 3Es; ecology; evolutionary history; social information; natural behavior

Chapter.  9672 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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