Kevin N. Laland

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In most studies of social learning in animals, no attempt has been made to examine the nature of the strategy adopted by animals when they copy others. Researchers have expended considerable effort in exploring the psychological processes that underlie social learning and amassed extensive data banks recording purported social learning in the field, but the(More)
Despite considerable current interest in the evolution of intelligence, the intuitively appealing notion that brain volume and "intelligence" are linked remains untested. Here, we use ecologically relevant measures of cognitive ability, the reported incidence of behavioral innovation, social learning, and tool use, to show that brain size and cognitive(More)
Social learning (learning through observation or interaction with other individuals) is widespread in nature and is central to the remarkable success of humanity, yet it remains unclear why copying is profitable and how to copy most effectively. To address these questions, we organized a computer tournament in which entrants submitted strategies specifying(More)
Researchers from diverse backgrounds are converging on the view that human evolution has been shaped by gene-culture interactions. Theoretical biologists have used population genetic models to demonstrate that cultural processes can have a profound effect on human evolution, and anthropologists are investigating cultural practices that modify current(More)
There are consistent individual differences in human intelligence, attributable to a single 'general intelligence' factor, g. The evolutionary basis of g and its links to social learning and culture remain controversial. Conflicting hypotheses regard primate cognition as divided into specialized, independently evolving modules versus a single general(More)
We propose a conceptual model that maps the causal pathways relating biological evolution to cultural change. It builds on conventional evolutionary theory by placing emphasis on the capacity of organisms to modify sources of natural selection in their environment (niche construction) and by broadening the evolutionary dynamic to incorporate ontogenetic and(More)
Organisms regularly modify local resource distributions, influencing both their ecosystems and the evolution of traits whose fitness depends on such alterable sources of natural selection in environments. We call these processes niche construction. We explore the evolutionary consequences of niche construction using a two-locus population genetic model,(More)
Research into social learning (learning from others) has expanded significantly in recent years, not least because of productive interactions between theoretical and empirical approaches. This has been coupled with a new emphasis on learning strategies, which places social learning within a cognitive decision-making framework. Understanding when, how and(More)
Gene-culture coevolutionary theory is a branch of theoretical population genetics that models the transmission of genes and cultural traits from one generation to the next, exploring how they interact. These models have been employed to examine the adaptive advantages of learning and culture, to investigate the forces of cultural change, to partition the(More)
Recent interest in animal cultures has been fuelled by high-profile reports of intra- and interpopulation differences in the behavioural repertoires of primates and cetaceans, consistent with the existence of socially learned traditions. Several studies have mapped spatial differences in behaviour, revealing a mosaic of behavioural phenotypes within(More)