Social information is immensely valuable. Yet we waste it. The information we get from observing other humans and from communicating with them is a cheap and reliable informational resource. It is considered the backbone of human cultural evolution. Theories and models focused on the evolution of social learning show the great adaptive benefits of evolving cognitive tools to process it. In spite of this, human adults in the experimental literature use social information quite inefficiently: they do not take it sufficiently into account. A comprehensive review of the literature on five experimental tasks documented 45 studies showing social information waste, and four studies showing social information being over-used. These studies cover 'egocentric discounting' phenomena as studied by social psychology, but also include experimental social learning studies. Social information waste means that human adults fail to give social information its optimal weight. Both proximal explanations and accounts derived from evolutionary theory leave crucial aspects of the phenomenon unaccounted for: egocentric discounting is a pervasive effect that no single unifying explanation fully captures. Cultural evolutionary theory's insistence on the power and benefits of social influence is to be balanced against this phenomenon.This article is part of the theme issue 'Foundations of cultural evolution'.

Social information use and social information waste / Morin, Olivier; Jacquet, Pierre Olivier; Vaesen, Krist; Acerbi, Alberto. - In: PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS - ROYAL SOCIETY. BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES. - ISSN 0962-8436. - 376:1828(2021). [10.1098/rstb.2020.0052]

Social information use and social information waste

Acerbi, Alberto
Ultimo
2021-01-01

Abstract

Social information is immensely valuable. Yet we waste it. The information we get from observing other humans and from communicating with them is a cheap and reliable informational resource. It is considered the backbone of human cultural evolution. Theories and models focused on the evolution of social learning show the great adaptive benefits of evolving cognitive tools to process it. In spite of this, human adults in the experimental literature use social information quite inefficiently: they do not take it sufficiently into account. A comprehensive review of the literature on five experimental tasks documented 45 studies showing social information waste, and four studies showing social information being over-used. These studies cover 'egocentric discounting' phenomena as studied by social psychology, but also include experimental social learning studies. Social information waste means that human adults fail to give social information its optimal weight. Both proximal explanations and accounts derived from evolutionary theory leave crucial aspects of the phenomenon unaccounted for: egocentric discounting is a pervasive effect that no single unifying explanation fully captures. Cultural evolutionary theory's insistence on the power and benefits of social influence is to be balanced against this phenomenon.This article is part of the theme issue 'Foundations of cultural evolution'.
2021
1828
Morin, Olivier; Jacquet, Pierre Olivier; Vaesen, Krist; Acerbi, Alberto
Social information use and social information waste / Morin, Olivier; Jacquet, Pierre Olivier; Vaesen, Krist; Acerbi, Alberto. - In: PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS - ROYAL SOCIETY. BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES. - ISSN 0962-8436. - 376:1828(2021). [10.1098/rstb.2020.0052]
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Morin-Jacquet-Vaesen-Acerbi.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Post-print referato (Refereed author’s manuscript)
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 600.43 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
600.43 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri
rstb.2020.0052.pdf

Solo gestori archivio

Tipologia: Versione editoriale (Publisher’s layout)
Licenza: Tutti i diritti riservati (All rights reserved)
Dimensione 252.8 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
252.8 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/357804
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 24
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 23
social impact