This book explores social learning concepts and methods as well as new developments in the field. These methods include: experimental and statistical methods that allow researchers to categorize cases of social learning according to their underlying psychological processes and learning mechanisms; neuroscientific methods for identifying the brain structures, neural circuitry, and physiological processes underlying both social learning and social influences on decision making; and mathematical methods for predicting the pattern of diffusion of novel learned innovations, and for modeling cultural evolution and gene-culture coevolution. This introductory chapter presents some definitions such as “social learning,” “imitation,” “innovation,” and “social transmission” and explains why social learning is an important field of study. It also provides an overview of the chapters that follow.
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