Research Topic

Neurobiology of Social Learning

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About this Research Topic

Social learning is a fundamental ability of humans and other animals. When individual learning is risky, slow, costly, or unreliable, learning from and with others helps to solve our problems. Hence, it comes at no surprise that a large group of researchers from disciplines like anthropology, biology, ...

Social learning is a fundamental ability of humans and other animals. When individual learning is risky, slow, costly, or unreliable, learning from and with others helps to solve our problems. Hence, it comes at no surprise that a large group of researchers from disciplines like anthropology, biology, economics, psychology, and sociology have thoroughly investigated the evolution of social learning abilities, optimal social learning strategies, and the influence of social interaction on learning, to name but a few of many topics of this area. Against the background of this long tradition of social learning research, the past years have seen the emergence of neurobiological accounts. These have contributed to our understanding of brain processes underlying phenomena like action imitation, social conformity, fear learning, or the influence of social learning on valuation and reinforcement. Still, a number of important questions remain unresolved. These include, but of course are not limited to: “Does the brain implement optimal learning strategies?” “How does social interaction influence our ability to learn?” “Does the brain have a dedicated social learning system?” and “Do humans and animals learn socially through the same process?”.
With Research Topics we aim to solicit contributions from leading researchers in the field to discuss their current perspectives on the brain mechanisms and neural computations of social learning in humans and other animals.


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