Amazing paper: Experimental evolution of prepared learning

8 10 2014

Check out this amazing paper from David Stephen’s group. Abstract follows:

Learning is one of the most basic phenomena in the behavioral sciences. Animals learn some things better than others, and understanding what constrains this basic process is fundamental to our understanding of learning. Our paper applies an evolutionary approach to this question. We offer a simple model that considers the fitness of value of “prepared learning,” and we test this model using experimental evolution. In doing so, we created different lines of Drosophila that are prepared to learn from different experiences. To the best of our knowledge this is the first mathematical model explaining why some associations are learned more easily than others and to our knowledge is the first time that the evolution of prepared learning has been demonstrated experimentally.