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The Effect of Social Information Use without Learning on the Evolution of Behaviour


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In a recent paper by Borg & Channon [6] it was shown that social information alone, decoupled from any within-lifetime learning, can result in improved performance on a food foraging task compared to when so13 cial information is unavailable. Here we assess whether access to social information leads to significant behavioral differences both when access to social information leads to improved performance on the task, and when it does not; do any behaviors resulting from social information use, such as movement and increased agent interaction, persist even when the ability to discriminate between poisonous and non-poisonous food is no better than when social information is unavailable? Using a neuroevolutionary artifi20 cial life simulation, here we show that social information use can lead to the emergence of behaviors that differ from when social information is un22 available, and that these behaviors act as a promoter of agent interaction. The results presented here suggest that the introduction of social infor24 mation is sufficient, even when decoupled from within-lifetime learning, for the emergence of pro-social behaviors. We believe this work to be the first use of an artificial evolutionary system to explore the behavioural consequences of social information use in the absence of within-lifetime learning.

Acceptance Date Oct 8, 2020
Publication Date Feb 1, 2021
Journal Artificial Life
Print ISSN 1064-5462
Publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press
Pages 431-454
Keywords social information, social behavior, local enhancement, agent interaction, behavioral persistence
Publisher URL


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