Evolution of Social Learning with Payoff and Content Bias

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1 Scopus citations


There has been much theoretical work aimed at understanding the evolution of social learning; and in most of it, individual and social learning are treated as distinct processes. A number of authors have argued that this approach is faulty because the same psychological mechanisms underpin social and individual learning. In previous work, we analyzed a simple model in which both individual and social learning are the result of a single learning process. Here, we extend this approach by showing how payoff and content biases evolve. We show that payoff bias leads to higher average fitness when environments are noisy and change rapidly. Content bias always evolves when the expected fitness benefits of alternative traits differ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Content bias
  • Cultural evolution
  • Individual learning
  • Payoff bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics


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