nEuro-economics seminar series

Human social learning from simple mechanism

Practical information
01 June 2023

ENS, salle Ribot, 29 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris


AfficheLearning from and about others – social learning – is key for our success as a species. Ideas and behaviors are transmitted between individuals and across generations via social learning, which gives rise to the evolution of human cultures. Despite intense multidisciplinary interest, the mechanisms underlying social learning are not well understood. I will present two projects that analyze different types of human social learning through the lens of reward learning theory. First, using both observational data from different social media platforms and experimental data, I will demonstrate that human engagement with social media can be explained by basic reward learning mechanisms fueled by social rewards – “likes”. Second, I will present a series of agent-based simulations and four experimental studies that tests the hypothesis that reward learning provides a common mechanism for a range of human social learning heuristics, such as conformity, increased copying under uncertainty, and copying based on others' payoffs. Together, these projects show that a wide range of social learning phenomena might emerge from the fundamental principles of reward learning. 


For a one-to-one meeting with Bjorn, please contact Magdalena Soukupova: