Social Learning: A Route to Good Cue Orders

Rocio Garcia-Retamero, Masanori Takezawa, Jan K. Woike and Gerd Gigerenzer

in Simple Heuristics in a Social World

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195388435
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199950089 | DOI:

Series: Evolution and Cognition Series

Social Learning: A Route to Good Cue Orders

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Inferences are often based on uncertain cues, and the accuracy of such inferences depends on the order in which the cues are searched. Previous experimental and theoretical research has shown that individuals progress only slowly in learning of cue orderings through feedback. A clue to how people (as opposed to computers) solve this problem is social learning: By exchanging information with others, people can learn which cues are relevant and the order in which they should be considered. By means of a computer simulation, the chapter demonstrates that imitate-the-bestdemon and imitate-the-majority speed up individual learning, whereas a third social rule, imitate-the-bestmortal, does not. The results appeared consistently both in a group discussion and in an advice taking setting. Imitate-the-bestdemon also leads to a steep increase in learning after a single social exchange, and to faster learning than when individuals gain the learning experience of all other group members but learn without social exchange. In an experiment it was found that people succeed in finding the best member and speed up cue learning in a similar way when provided with social information when they obtain the information in free discussions with others.

Keywords: advice taking; cue learning; group discussion; imitate-the-bestdemon; imitate-the-bestmortal; imitate-the-majority; heuristics; social exchange; social learning; take-the-best

Chapter.  4467 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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