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Simple Heuristics in a Social World$
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Ralph Hertwig, Ulrich Hoffrage, and ABC Research Group

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388435

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388435.001.0001

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Social Learning: A Route to Good Cue Orders

Social Learning: A Route to Good Cue Orders

(p.343) 12 Social Learning: A Route to Good Cue Orders
Simple Heuristics in a Social World

Rocio Garcia-Retamero

Masanori Takezawa

Jan K. Woike

Gerd Gigerenzer

Oxford University Press

Inferences are often based on uncertain cues, and the accuracy of such inferences depends on the order in which the cues are searched. Previous experimental and theoretical research has shown that individuals progress only slowly in learning of cue orderings through feedback. A clue to how people (as opposed to computers) solve this problem is social learning: By exchanging information with others, people can learn which cues are relevant and the order in which they should be considered. By means of a computer simulation, the chapter demonstrates that imitate-the-bestdemon and imitate-the-majority speed up individual learning, whereas a third social rule, imitate-the-bestmortal , does not. The results appeared consistently both in a group discussion and in an advice taking setting. Imitate-the-bestdemon also leads to a steep increase in learning after a single social exchange, and to faster learning than when individuals gain the learning experience of all other group members but learn without social exchange. In an experiment it was found that people succeed in finding the best member and speed up cue learning in a similar way when provided with social information when they obtain the information in free discussions with others.

Keywords:   advice taking, cue learning, group discussion, imitate-the-bestdemon, imitate-the-bestmortal, imitate-the-majority, heuristics, social exchange, social learning, take-the-best

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