Social LearningStrategies, Mechanisms, and Models

Lewis Dean, Will Hoppitt, Luke Rendell and Mike M. Webster

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Cognition

Second edition

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780195392661
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Social LearningStrategies, Mechanisms, and Models

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
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This chapter begins by summarizing the principal theoretical and empirical evidence for the deployment of particular social learning strategies. These are separated into “when” strategies, which dictate the circumstances under which individuals copy others and “who” strategies, which specify from whom individuals learn. The chapter then focuses on a specific case study - public information use in sticklebacks - as a vehicle to illustrate how strategies may be combined, and as a means to illustrate some of the complications and caveats that have recently emerged in this developing field. It goes on to consider how social learning strategy use relates to the psychological mechanisms underlying social learning. While these issues are essentially independent, the former relating to functional and the latter mechanistic categorizations of behavior, it is argued that not all strategies are consistent with all mechanisms, and that knowledge of one may shed a degree of light on the other.

Keywords: social learning; social learning strategies; public information; private information; producer-scrounger; innovation; stickleback; guppy; rat; callitrichid monkey

Article.  13842 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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