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Artificial Life

Winter 2010, Vol. 16, No. 1, Pages 21-37
(doi: 10.1162/artl.2009.Marriott.014)
© 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Imitation as a Mechanism of Cultural Transmission
Article PDF (238.07 KB)

We study the effects of an imitation mechanism on a population of animats capable of individual ontogenetic learning. An urge to imitate others augments a network-based reinforcement learning strategy used in the control system of the animats. We test populations of animats with imitation against populations without for their ability to find, and maintain over generations, successful foraging behavior in an environment containing three necessary resources: food, water, and shelter. We conclude that even simple imitation mechanisms are effective at increasing the frequency of success when measured over time and over populations of animats.