> Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning > Altruistic Learning
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Altruistic Learning

Synonyms

Cooperative learning

Definition

Altruistic learning describes the manner in which self-orientated decision-making systems learn about their social environment in a way that yields altruistic behavior. Based on neurobiological accounts of human decision-making, processes such as reinforcement learning and observational learning in game-theoretic social interactions lead to altruistic behavior, both as a result of computational efficiency and optimal inference in the face of uncertainty. Evolutionary pressure acts not over the object of learning (“what” is learned), but over the learning systems themselves (“how” things are learned), enabling the evolution of altruism in otherwise selfish individuals.

Theoretical Background

Many apparently pro-social and cooperative social interactions are self-beneficial, incurring immediate costs that are more than recovered in future exchanges, such interactions being typically formalized within Game Theory. However,