Evolution of learning capacities and learning levels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Humans strongly depend on individual and social learning, both of which are highly effective and accurate. I study the effects of environmental change on the evolution of the effectiveness and accuracy of individual and social learning (individual and social learning levels) and the number of pieces of information learned individually and socially (individual and social learning capacities) by analyzing a mathematical model. I show that individual learning capacity decreases and social learning capacity increases when the environment becomes more stable; both decrease when the environment becomes milder. I also show that individual learning capacity increases when individual learning level increases or social learning level decreases, while social learning capacity increases when individual or social learning level increases. The evolution of high learning levels can be triggered when the environment becomes severe, but a high social learning level can evolve only when a high individual learning level can simultaneously evolve with it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
JournalTheoretical Population Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Nov 1



  • Continuously stable strategy (CSS)
  • Convergence stability (CS)
  • Enlargement of the brain
  • Environmental change
  • Evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS)
  • Human evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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