||Social influences on established behaviour and on the acquisition of new information and behaviour are reviewed. Distinctions between social facilitation and contagious behaviour are drawn and suggestions for further research on contagious behaviour are made. Socially derived visual, olfactory and auditory cues are considered as important influences on behaviour and subsequent learning. The evidence supporting two potential mechanisms of social learning, i.e. stimulus enhancement followed by individual learning, and imitation, is reviewed in detail. It is argued that the functions of social learning are similarly heterogeneous and include motor skill acquisition, gathering of environmental information, and social conformity. Factors affecting the spread of socially acquired skills, including the social relationship between demonstrator and observer, are highlighted. Lastly, the few studies of social learning that have been conducted with domestic species are reviewed and potential applied goals that could stimulate further research in this area are suggested.