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2014 Impact factor:
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Artificial Life

Winter 2007, Vol. 13, No. 1, Pages 45-67
(doi: 10.1162/artl.2007.13.1.45)
© 2006 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Effects of Cultural Learning in Populations of Neural Networks
Article PDF (421.97 KB)
Abstract

Population learning can be described as the iterative Darwinian process of fitness-based selection and genetic transfer of information leading to populations of higher fitness and is often simulated using genetic algorithms. Cultural learning describes the process of information transfer between individuals in a population through non-genetic means. Cultural learning has been simulated by combining genetic algorithms and neural networks using a teacher-pupil scenario where highly fit individuals are selected as teachers and instruct the next generation. By examining the innate fitness of a population (i.e., the fitness of the population measured before any cultural learning takes place), it is possible to examine the effects of cultural learning on the population's genetic makeup. Our model explores the effect of cultural learning on a population and employs three benchmark sequential decision tasks as the evolutionary task for the population: connect-four, tic-tac-toe, and blackjack. Experiments are conducted with populations employing population learning alone and populations combining population and cultural learning. The article presents results showing the gradual transfer of knowledge from genes to the cultural process, illustrated by the simultaneous decrease in the population's innate fitness and the increase of its acquired fitness measured after learning takes place.