Social and individual learning of helping in humans and other species

Laurent Lehmann*, Kevin R. Foster, Elhanan Borenstein, Marcus W. Feldman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Helping behaviors can be innate, learned by copying others (cultural transmission) or individually learned de novo. These three possibilities are often entangled in debates on the evolution of helping in humans. Here we discuss their similarities and differences, and argue that evolutionary biologists underestimate the role of individual learning in the expression of helping behaviors in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-671
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies
National Institute of General Medical Sciences Center of Excellence5P50 GM 068763–01
Swiss NSF
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of General Medical SciencesR01GM028016
James S. McDonnell Foundation


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