SOCIAL LEARNERS REQUIRE PROCESS INFORMATION TO OUTPERFORM INDIVIDUAL LEARNERS
Article first published online: 5 OCT 2012
© 2012 The Author(s). Evolution© 2012 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Volume 67, Issue 3, pages 688–697, March 2013
How to Cite
Derex, M., Godelle, B. and Raymond, M. (2013), SOCIAL LEARNERS REQUIRE PROCESS INFORMATION TO OUTPERFORM INDIVIDUAL LEARNERS. Evolution, 67: 688–697. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01804.x
- Issue published online: 5 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 5 OCT 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 18 SEP 2012 03:32AM EST
- Received June 21, 2012 Accepted August 10, 2012 Data Archived: Dryad doi:10.5061/dryad.5ck3n
- Cultural transmission;
- cumulative culture;
- social learning
Humans exhibit a rich and complex material culture with no equivalent in animals. Also, social learning, a crucial requirement for culture, is particularly developed in humans and provides a means to accumulate knowledge over time and to develop advanced technologies. However, the type of social learning required for the evolution of this complex material culture is still debated. Here, using a complex and opaque virtual task, the efficiency of individual learning and two types of social learning (product-copying and process-copying) were compared. We found that (1) individuals from process-copying groups outperformed individuals from product-copying groups or individual learners, whereas access to product information was not a sufficient condition for providing an advantage to social learners compared to individual learners; (2) social learning did not seem to affect the exploration of the fitness landscape; (3) social learning led to strong within-group convergence and also to between-group convergence, and (4) individuals used widely variable social learning strategies. The implications of these results for cumulative culture evolution are discussed.