Social learning strategies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

838 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In most studies of social learning in animals, no attempt has been made to examine the nature of the strategy adopted by animals when they copy others. Researchers have expended considerable effort in exploring the psychological processes that underlie social learning and amassed extensive data banks recording purported social learning in the field, but the contexts tinder which animals copy others remain unexplored. Yet, theoretical models used to investigate the adaptive advantages of social learning lead to the conclusion that social learning cannot be indiscriminate and that individuals should adopt strategies that dictate the circumstances under which they copy others and from whom they learn. In this article, I discuss a number of possible strategies that are predicted by theoretical analyses, including copy when uncertain, copy the majority, and copy if better, and consider the empirical evidence in support of each, drawing from both the animal and human social learning literature. Reliance on social learning strategies may be organized hierarchically, their being employed by animals when unlearned and asocially learned strategies prove ineffective but before animals take recourse in innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-14
Number of pages11
JournalLearning and Behavior
Volume32
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004

Keywords

  • CULTURAL TRANSMISSION
  • MATE-CHOICE
  • PUBLIC INFORMATION
  • SEXUAL SELECTION
  • FORAGING INFORMATION
  • POECILIA-RETICULATA
  • RATTUS-NORVEGICUS
  • COTURNIX-JAPONICA
  • NORWAY RATS
  • SHOAL SIZE

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Social learning strategies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this