3 - The Truth of Young Chimp Imitation In the chapter"The...

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The Truth of Young Chimp Imitation In the chapter “The Urge to Be Like Others”, De Waal writes about a method in which chimpanzee culture is developed, through imitation. Using many examples of chimpanzee imitation, De Waal attempts to make the reader believe that chimpanzees do not copy others only seeking benefits, rather chimpanzees imitate other chimps because they want to fit into the group. In some instances, De Waal’s examples don’t always provide a strong enough argument because sometimes he doesn’t specify the result of the chimpanzee imitation. De Waal’s thesis in this chapter can be conveyed in a single sentence: “Let me therefore propose an alternative view, which is that primate social learning stems from conformism—an urge to belong and fit in (De Waal 230).” According to De Waal, a chimpanzee doesn’t always perform an activity with the mindset that he will reap a reward upon completing the given activity. De Waal gives plenty of evidence supporting this idea; for example, chimpanzees are known to copy actions without reward for over one thousand days (De Waal 229). De Waal’s examples also seem to fall short many times because he leaves the reader unaware of what the actual result is of the young chimp’s imitation. There are many examples of chimpanzee imitation provided in the chapter in which the chimpanzees imitate others just for the sake of imitating, rather than seek benefits, but there is also plenty evidence of
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This note was uploaded on 05/07/2008 for the course WR 10 taught by Professor Solomon during the Spring '08 term at BU.

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3 - The Truth of Young Chimp Imitation In the chapter"The...

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