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Individual Versus Social Learning: Evolutionary Analysis in a Fluctuating Environment

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Abstract

A model for haploid asexual inheritance of social and individual learning is proposed. Animals of one genotype, individual learners (IL), behave optimally for the current environment and, except for a fixed cost due to learning errors, have the optimal fitness in that environment. Animals of the other genotype are social learners (SL) each ofwhom copies a random individual from the previous generation. However, the phenotype of a social learner depends on whom it copies. If it copies an IL or a correctly behaving SL, it has the ``correct'' phenogenotype, SLC. Otherwise, its behavior is maladaptive and we call its phenogenotype SLW. Different models for the environmental fluctuation produce different dynamics for the frequency of SL animals. An infinite state environment is such that when it changes, it never reverts to an earlier state. If it changes every generation, social learning can never succeed. If, however, a generation in which the environment changes is followed by l -1 generations of environmental stasis and $l greater than or equal to 3, some fitness sets do allow the maintenance of social learning. Analogous results are shown for a randomly fluctuating environment, and for cyclic two-state environments. In a second type of model, each animal can learn individually with probability L. We examine the evolutionary stability properties of this probability inthe infinite state environment. When a generation of change is followed by l-1 generations of stasis, fitness parameters can be found that produce an evolutionarily stable nonzero probability of social learning. In all of the models treated, the greater the probability of environmental change, the more difficult it is for social learning to evolve.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcus W. Feldman & Kenichi Aoki & Jochen Kumm, 1996. "Individual Versus Social Learning: Evolutionary Analysis in a Fluctuating Environment," Working Papers 96-05-030, Santa Fe Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:96-05-030
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    4. Rowthorn, Robert E. & Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Rodríguez-Sickert, Carlos, 2009. "Theories of the evolution of cooperative behaviour: A critical survey plus some new results," MPRA Paper 12574, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Giuliano, Paola & Nunn, Nathan, 2017. "Understanding Cultural Persistence and Change," IZA Discussion Papers 10930, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    7. Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Rodríguez-Sickert, Carlos & Rowthorn, Robert, 2006. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do: the coevolution of altruistic punishment, conformist learning, and cooperation," MPRA Paper 2037, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    10. N. Marshall & I. Gordon & A. Ash, 2011. "The reluctance of resource-users to adopt seasonal climate forecasts to enhance resilience to climate variability on the rangelands," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 107(3), pages 511-529, August.
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    14. Bossan, Benjamin & Jann, Ole & Hammerstein, Peter, 2015. "The evolution of social learning and its economic consequences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 266-288.
    15. repec:eee:thpobi:v:92:y:2014:i:c:p:78-87 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Ricardo Guzman & Robert Rowthorn & Carlos Rodríguez Sickert, 2008. "Teorías De La Evolución Del Comportamiento Cooperativo: Una Revisión Crítica," Abante, Escuela de Administracion. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 11(1), pages 3-18.
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