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  • 1.
    Ehn, Micael
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution.
    Temporal discounting leads to social stratification2012In: The Journal of mathematical sociology, ISSN 0022-250X, E-ISSN 1545-5874, Vol. 36, no 4, p. 245-255Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Social stratification is present in all modern societies. Do income differences simply reflect inherited differences in individual abilities and resources? If not, why does not everyone choose strategies that lead to high income? This article shows that the psychological phenomenon known as temporal discounting will lead to differences in educational attainment and social stratification in any society where the demand for workers with a higher level of education is higher than for those with a lower level. The model is used to predict income differences between people with and without college education in seven developed countries, based only on official statistics of the cost and length of college education. The model explains 93% of the variance, strongly suggesting that temporal discounting is a major factor behind income differences.

  • 2.
    Ehn, Micael
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution.
    Laland, Kevin
    Adaptive strategies for cumulative cultural learning2012In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, ISSN 0022-5193, E-ISSN 1095-8541, Vol. 301, p. 103-111Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The demographic and ecological success of our species is frequently attributed to our capacity for cumulative culture. However, it is not yet known how humans combine social and asocial learning to generate effective strategies for learning in a cumulative cultural context. Here we explore how cumulative culture influences the relative merits of various pure and conditional learning strategies, including pure asocial and social learning, critical social learning, conditional social learning and individual refiner strategies. We replicate the Rogers' paradox in the cumulative setting. However, our analysis suggests that strategies that resolved Rogers' paradox in a non-cumulative setting may not necessarily evolve in a cumulative setting, thus different strategies will optimize cumulative and non-cumulative cultural learning.

  • 3. Morgan, T. J. H.
    et al.
    Rendell, L. E.
    Ehn, Micael
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution.
    Hoppitt, W.
    Laland, K. N.
    The evolutionary basis of human social learning2012In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 279, no 1729, p. 653-662Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Humans are characterized by an extreme dependence on culturally transmitted information. Such dependence requires the complex integration of social and asocial information to generate effective learning and decision making. Recent formal theory predicts that natural selection should favour adaptive learning strategies, but relevant empirical work is scarce and rarely examines multiple strategies or tasks. We tested nine hypotheses derived from theoretical models, running a series of experiments investigating factors affecting when and how humans use social information, and whether such behaviour is adaptive, across several computer-based tasks. The number of demonstrators, consensus among demonstrators, confidence of subjects, task difficulty, number of sessions, cost of asocial learning, subject performance and demonstrator performance all influenced subjects' use of social information, and did so adaptively. Our analysis provides strong support for the hypothesis that human social learning is regulated by adaptive learning rules.

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