Disentangling the contribution of individual and social learning processes in human advice-taking behavior

Maayan Pereg*, Uri Hertz, Ido Ben-Artzi, Nitzan Shahar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of social learning examines how individuals learn from others by means of observation, imitation, or compliance with advice. However, it still remains largely unknown whether social learning processes have a distinct contribution to behavior, independent from non-social trial-and-error learning that often occurs simultaneously. 153 participants completed a reinforcement learning task, where they were asked to make choices to gain rewards. Advice from an artificial teacher was presented in 60% of the trials, allowing us to compare choice behavior with and without advice. Results showed a strong and reliable tendency to follow advice (test-retest reliability ~0.73). Computational modeling suggested a unique contribution of three distinct learning strategies: (a) individual learning (i.e., learning the value of actions, independent of advice), (b) informed advice-taking (i.e., learning the value of following advice), and (c) non-informed advice-taking (i.e., a constant bias to follow advice regardless of outcome history). Comparing artificial and empirical data provided specific behavioral regression signatures to both informed and non-informed advice taking processes. We discuss the theoretical implications of integrating internal and external information during the learning process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Journalnpj Science of Learning
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


FundersFunder number
Minducate Center for the Science of Learning
Israel Science Foundation2536/20
Tel Aviv University
Ministry of Science and Technology, Israel


    Dive into the research topics of 'Disentangling the contribution of individual and social learning processes in human advice-taking behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this