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The Cultural Evolution Society's Online Learning Series

Foundations of Cultural Evolution

Lecture 2: Should learning be directed toward specific individuals?

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Building recursions for evolutionary simulation

In the previous module we determined in many circumstances it was advantageous to imitate or socially learn from others. It was even shown that learning could increase the average welfare of a population if individuals selectively learned better behaviors at reduced cost and greater accuracy. What was left out, however, was how to do that. Is it advantageous to be selective about whom one learns from?

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References cited

Henrich, J., & McElreath, R. (2003). The evolution of cultural evolution. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews, 12(3), 123-135.

Additional readings about payoff-bias and the adoption of behaviors

Chudek, M., Heller, S., Birch, S., & Henrich, J. (2012). Prestige-biased cultural learning: bystander's differential attention to potential models influences children's learning. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33(1), 46-56.

Henrich, J., & Gil-White, F. J. (2001). The evolution of prestige: Freely conferred deference as a mechanism for enhancing the benefits of cultural transmission. Evolution and human behavior, 22(3), 165-196.

Kendal, J., Giraldeau, L. A., & Laland, K. (2009). The evolution of social learning rules: payoff-biased and frequency-dependent biased transmission. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 260(2), 210–219.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press.

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