This project will address a cluster of Big Questions concerning 'regard for others', a form of prosocial behaviour, particularly the donation of resources to others. A series of recent studies has demonstrated some significant, although often limited, prosocial tendencies of these kinds in some non-human primates, as well as in young children, raising the prospect of linked developmental and evolutionary analyses of the roots of giving, helping, and kindred altruistic dispositions. This project will, for the first time, bring together the methodological tools developed in this new line of work and those in which the applicant can claim to be a world leader himself - social learning, traditions and culture - to explore the scope for developmental flexibility in such prosocial behaviour in monkeys, apes and human children. The Big Questions here include: 'To what extent will monkeys, apes and human children adopt prosocial actions they observe commonly in others?' and 'Will 'cultures of kindness' thus emerge and become established?'. Some limited existing evidence suggests the answers may be positive, but this will be the first study to tackle these questions directly. Clear answers to such questions, whether affirmative or negative for different species, will be of great theoretical interest to the field, as well as carrying important messages for everyday life. For capuchins and children, it is planned additionally to investigate the effects of learning by being in the role of recipient of others' generosity, or of being a third-party onlooker over such interactions. Probably uniquely, the applicant has access to the essential subject populations, coupled with the required track record and methodological expertise to successfully complete this project.
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