Does Imitation Benefit Cue Order Learning?

Rocio Garcia-Retamero, Masanori Takezawa and Gerd Gigerenzer

in Heuristics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199744282
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894727 | DOI:
Does Imitation Benefit Cue Order Learning?

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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 research has shown that people and computers progress only slowly in individual 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 simulation, the chapter demonstrates that imitate-the-best and imitate-the-majority speed up individual learning, whereas a third social rule, the Borda rule, does not. Imitate-the-best also leads to a steep increase in learning after a single social exchange, to cue orders that are more accurate than ecological validity, and to faster learning than when individuals gain the learning experience of all other group members but learn without social exchange. In two experiments, the chapter finds that people speed up cue learning in a similar way when provided with social information, both when they obtain the information from the experimenter or in free discussions with others.

Keywords: cue learning; imitate-the-best; imitate-the-majority; heuristics; heuristics

Chapter.  7799 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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