The Role of Intelligence in Social Learning

Studies in cultural evolution have uncovered many types of social learning strategies that are adaptive in certain environments. The efficiency of these strategies also depends on the individual characteristics of both the observer and the demonstrator. We investigate the relationship between intelligence and the ways social and individual information is utilized to make decisions in an uncertain environment. We measure fluid intelligence and study experimentally how individuals learn from observing the choices of a demonstrator in a 2-armed bandit problem with changing probabilities of a reward. Participants observe a demonstrator with high or low fluid intelligence. In some treatments, they are aware of the intelligence score of the demonstrator and in others, they are not. Low fluid intelligence individuals imitate the demonstrator more when her fluid intelligence is known than when it is not. Conversely, individuals with high fluid intelligence adjust their use of social information, as the observed behavior changes, independently of the knowledge of the intelligence of the demonstrator. We provide evidence that intelligence determines how social and individual information is integrated in order to make choices in a changing uncertain environment.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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