The Effect of Social Information Use Without Learning on the Evolution of Social Behavior

James Borg, Alastair Channon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In a recent article by Borg and Channon 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 social 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 artificial life simulation, we show that social information use can lead to the emergence of behaviors that differ from when social information is unavailable, and that these behaviors act as a promoter of agent interaction. The results presented here suggest that the introduction of social information 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 behavioral consequences of social information use in the absence of within-lifetime learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)431-454
    Number of pages24
    JournalArtificial Life
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


    • Agent interaction
    • Behavioral persistence
    • Local enhancement
    • Social behavior
    • Social information


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