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To make good use of learning from others (social learning), we need to learn from the right others; from agents who know better than we do. Research on social learning strategies (SLSs) has identified rules that focus social learning on the right agents, and has shown that the behaviour of many animals conforms to these rules. However, it has not asked what the rules are made of, that is, about the cognitive processes implementing SLSs. Here, I suggest that most SLSs depend on domain-general, sensorimotor processes. However, some SLSs have the characteristics tacitly ascribed to all of them. These metacognitive SLSs represent 'who knows' in a conscious, reportable way, and have the power to promote cultural evolution.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.tics.2015.12.007

Type

Journal article

Journal

Trends Cogn Sci

Publication Date

03/2016

Volume

20

Pages

204 - 213

Keywords

cultural evolution, domain-general, metacognition, social learning strategies, Animals, Association, Biological Evolution, Cognition, Humans, Models, Psychological, Social Behavior, Social Learning