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Cognitive Ecology II$
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Reuven Dukas and John M. Ratcliffe

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226169354

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226169378.001.0001

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Adaptive Trade-offs in the Use of Social and Personal Information

Adaptive Trade-offs in the Use of Social and Personal Information

(p.249) 13 Adaptive Trade-offs in the Use of Social and Personal Information
Cognitive Ecology II
Rachel L. Kendal, Isabelle Coolen, Kevin N. Laland
University of Chicago Press

This chapter reviews the current knowledge on social learning. From humans' biased perspective, social learning is a basic way of life. Most animals do not rely on social learning, whereas some species use it only conditionally. The authors organize their discussion around the two key questions of when individuals should rely on social learning and whom they should learn from. Individual characteristics of observers, favoring the overriding of social learning strategies and the continued acquisition of personal information, may be influential in determining the innovatory capacities of individuals. It is hoped that consideration of the trade-offs inherent in the adaptive use of social and asocial learning will contribute to an increased understanding of the observed pattern of social learning and behavioral traditions in the animal kingdom, especially as the use of social information may lead to cultural evolution, which may in turn affect biological evolution.

Keywords:   social learning, acquisition, trade-offs, asocial learning, behavioral traditions

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