Learning from Others: Social Learning
Adaptive benefits of social learning-
-gain knowledge quickly
-compete with others
Social Influences on Behaviour
Contagion- engaging in similar (species typical behaviour). 1 ind. serves as releasing stimulus for
unlearned behaviour of others.
Social Facilitation- the presence of an individual has a motivational effect on another
Local Enhancement- social cues draw attention to a locale associated with reinforcement
Stimulus Enhancement- similar to LE but attention is drawn to specific objects in environment
Social Learning Mechanisms
Imprinting- follow/form attachment to first moving object seen
Discriminated Following- following conspecificity to food
Observational Conditioning (emulation)- conditioned association between a stimulus and a reinforce
Imitation- The copying of a novel of otherwise improbable act or utterance, or some act for which there
is clearly no instinctive tendency *Rats use social information throughout their lifetimes to make locally adaptive food selections.
Prior to birth – pups show preferences for flavours mother ingested when pregnant.
During nursing – pups show preferences for flavours mother ingests when nursing.
At weaning – pups follow mother to food sites and eat from those sites
Into adulthood – rats follow urine trails to food sites, eat at sites with rat feces around them, prefer
foods that other rats have eaten recently, steal food from others
But no teaching actually occurs
“A behavioral practice that is relatively enduring, that is shared among two or more members of a
group,and that depends in part on socially aided learning for its generation in new practitioners.”
Memes- Ideas, melodies, catch-phrases, beliefs (notably religious beliefs), clothing fashion, technology,
etc. Chapter 11: Memory
Types of Memory-
Procedural vs. Episodic
Episodic memory refers more closely to things that actually happen to you in your past, procedural is
based on things you have been exposed to but not directly.
Working vs. Reference
Working memory is short-term memory, once used the information is gone because the next time will
Reference memory is more similar to long-term memory, used when the information given will be
identical through every following trial
Matching to Sample, Delayed Match to Sample tests
Variables that can be manipulated:
-duration of stimulus presentation
-duration of delay
Trace Decay Hypothesis- Stimulus produces changes in nervous system that wear off over time (decay).
-Decay rate is constant Trace Decay cannot account for the results from certain effects-
Effect of delay training (2, 4, 6s delays in training do not inhibit correct responses)
Effect of stimulus type- Increasing relevance/belongingness makes the subject’s performance of
memory stronger (ex. we remember people’s faces well)
*Radial Arm Maze
How do rats remember where they have been?
Go through a Serial List? (food in arm facing door, food in arm facing picture, etc.)
Cognitive Map- mental representation of the local environment and your activities in that environment
-Cognitive maps and navigational landmarks are generally the two tools animals use to navigate
Retrospective vs. Prospective Coding
Retrospective coding keeps track of where you’ve been
Prospective coding refers to where you will have to go
Mixed strategy – start out at retros