Alberto Acerbi

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In this paper we investigate whether social learning or the combination of individual and social learning can provide an adaptive advantage for artificial embodied agents that have to develop behavioural abilities that are too difficult or too costly to be acquired through individual learning. Obtained results demonstrate that social learning provides an(More)
We describe some simulations that compare cultural transmission between and within generations (inter-generational vs intra-generational transmission) in populations of embodied agents controlled by neural networks. Our results suggest that intra-generational transmission has the role of adding variability to the evolutionary process and that this function(More)
We report here trends in the usage of "mood" words, that is, words carrying emotional content, in 20th century English language books, using the data set provided by Google that includes word frequencies in roughly 4% of all books published up to the year 2008. We find evidence for distinct historical periods of positive and negative moods, underlain by a(More)
In this paper we propose an adaptive algorithm based on a combination of selective reproduction, individual learning, and social learning. Social learning consists of a simple facilitation process that regulates the strength of individual learning on the basis of the number of individuals located nearby. By testing this model in an experimental scenario, in(More)
Social transmission of behavior can be realized through distinct mechanisms. Research on primate social learning typically distinguishes two forms of information that a learner can extract from a demonstrator: copying actions (defined as imitation) or copying only the consequential results (defined as emulation). We propose a decomposition of these learning(More)
All animals thus far studied sleep, but little is known about the ecological factors that generate differences in sleep characteristics across species, such as total sleep duration or division of sleep into multiple bouts across the 24-hour period (i.e., monophasic or polyphasic sleep activity). Here we address these questions using an evolutionary(More)
Many cultural traits exhibit volatile dynamics, commonly dubbed fashions or fads. Here we show that realistic fashion-like dynamics emerge spontaneously if individuals can copy others' preferences for cultural traits as well as traits themselves. We demonstrate this dynamics in simple mathematical models of the diffusion, and subsequent abandonment, of a(More)
Behavioral “traditions”, i.e. behavioral patterns that are acquired with the aid of social learning and that are relatively stable in a group, have been observed in several species. Recently, however, it has been questioned whether non-human social learning is faithful enough to stabilize those patterns. The observed stability could be interpreted as a(More)
Cultural evolution studies are characterized by the notion that culture evolves accordingly to broadly Darwinian principles. Yet how far the analogy between cultural and genetic evolution should be pushed is open to debate. Here, we examine a recent disagreement that concerns the extent to which cultural transmission should be considered a preservative(More)
For the 20(th) century since the Depression, we find a strong correlation between a 'literary misery index' derived from English language books and a moving average of the previous decade of the annual U.S. economic misery index, which is the sum of inflation and unemployment rates. We find a peak in the goodness of fit at 11 years for the moving average.(More)