Individual differences in learning behaviours in humans: Asocial exploration tendency does not predict reliance on social learning

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Wataru ToyokawaTatsuya Kameda


A number of empirical studies have suggested that individual differences in asocial exploration tendencies in animals may be related to those in social information use. However, because the "exploration tendency" in most previous studies has been measured without considering the exploration-exploitation trade-off, it is yet hard to conclude that the animal asocial "exploration-exploitation" tendency may be tied to social information use. Here, we studied human learning behaviour in both asocial and social multi-armed bandit tasks. By fitting reinforcement learning models including asocial and/or social decision processes, we measured each individual's (1) asocial exploration tendency and (2) social information use. We found consistent individual differences in the exploration tendency in the asocial tasks. We also found substantive heterogeneity in the adopted learning strategies in the social task: One-third of participants were most likely to have used the copy-when-uncertain strategy, while the remaining two-thirds were most likely to have relied only on asocial learning. However, we found no significant individual association between the exploration frequency in the asocial task and the use of the social learning strategy i...Continue Reading

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