Social Learning - Essay Example

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Social Learning

The ways in which individual learning and social learning allow organisms to adapt to different environments are, however, quite different. Behavioral variants acquired by individual learning are not transmitted from one generation to the next. This means that each individual's behavior develops independently based on the interaction of genetically inherited learning mechanisms and the local environment. Generic variation underlying learning mechanisms may evolve, but the behavioral variants acquired by learning do not. Individual learning is adaptive if it bestows some advantage on the individual. In contrast, behaviors acquired by the imitative and observational forms of social learning are transmitted from one individual to another and thus from one generation to the next. From an evolutionary biologist's perspective social learning is interesting because it mixes aspects of a system of inheritance with aspects of ordinary phenotypic flexibility, creating a system for the inheritance of acquired variation. ...Show more

Summary

From an evolutionary perspective, both individual and social learning can be viewed as forms of phenotypic plasticity. Both modes of learning are developmental processes that cause organisms to acquire different behaviors in different environments. Phenotypic plasticity may be adaptive in temporally or spatially varying environments if the use of environmental cues enables organisms to acquire behavior that is adaptive in each local habitat…
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Social Learning essay example
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