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Nat Commun. 2017 Oct 10;8(1):817. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00826-8.

Prior preferences beneficially influence social and non-social learning.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EB, UK. tor.tarantola@gmail.com.
2
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR, UK.
3
Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London, 25 Howland Street, London, W1T 4JG, UK.
4
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR, UK. benedettodemartino@gmail.com.

Abstract

Our personal preferences affect a broad array of social behaviors. This includes the way we learn the preferences of others, an ability that often relies on limited or ambiguous information. Here we report an egocentric influence on this type of social learning that is reflected in both performance and response times. Using computational models that combine inter-trial learning and intra-trial choice, we find transient effects of participants' preferences on the learning process, through the influence of priors, and persistent effects on the choice process. A second experiment shows that these effects generalize to non-social learning, though participants in the social learning experiment appeared to additionally benefit by using their knowledge about the popularity of certain preferences. We further find that the domain-general egocentric influences we identify can yield performance advantages in uncertain environments.People often assume that other people share their preferences, but how exactly this bias manifests itself in learning and decision-making is unclear. Here, authors show that a person's own preferences influence learning in both social and non-social situations, and that this bias improves performance.

PMID:
29018195
PMCID:
PMC5635122
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-017-00826-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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