Resolving Rogers’ Paradox with Specialized Hybrid Learners


Culture is considered an evolutionary adaptation that enhances human reproductive fitness. A common explanation is that social learning, the learning mechanism underlying cultural transmission, enhances fitness by avoiding the extra costs of individual learning. This explanation was disproved by a mathematical model of individual and social learning, showing that social learners can invade a population but do not enhance its fitness. We extend this model to include a more complex environment, limited cognitive resources, and hybrid learners that combine social and individual learning. In this extended model, we show that social learning evolves and enhances population fitness via hybrid learners capable of specializing their individual learning.

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