Article: article from journal or magazin.
Information retention during competitive interactions : siblings need to constantly repeat vocal displays
Memory is essential to adjust behaviour according to past experience. In societies where animals interact on numerous occasions, memory of previous social interactions may help optimise investment in competition. How long information about the resource holding potential and motivation to compete of conspecifics is retained depends on how fast the value of this information fades, but also on the cost and benefit of retaining information. Information retention has never been investigated in the context of interactions prevailing within the family and more specifically sibling competition. In the absence of parents, barn owl (Tyto alba) nestlings vocally compete for priority of access to the next indivisible food item brought by a parent. The finding that owlets eavesdrop on vocal interactions between siblings to adjust investment in vocalization once competing with them suggests that they memorize siblings' vocal interactions. Playback experiments showed that owlets take into account the past siblings' vocal performance that signals hunger for at least 15 min, but only if the performance was witnessed during a sufficiently long period of time (30 min). Moreover, using natural vocal exchanges in another set of individuals, we showed that sibling signalling was no more taken into account after a few minutes. This suggests that young barn owls need to continuously display their motivation to trigger siblings' withdrawal from the current competition. Repeating a vocal display may ensure its honesty. Studying the extent to which individuals retain past information is important to understand how individuals adjust their competitive investment over resources.
Eavesdrop, Memory, Negotiation, Sibling competition, Communication, Signalling, Parent-offspring conflict
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