If one excludes learning through verbal explanations and instructions, which necessitates language, learning by trial and error and by
observation are two mechanisms of particular interest for the development of culture in human infants and adults. Social/observational learning
improves human adaptability and allows individuals to acquire a vast store of useful knowledge without incurring the
cost of discovering and testing this knowledge themselves. (Social Learning
Theory 1, Social Learning Theory 2)
We studied the brain basis of social learning with fMRI and found that a region in the right prefrontal cortex was activated when one retrieves a rule previously learned either by trial and error or by observation of someone else performing the task (PDF).
If the behaviour of others is of limited or no interest to people with autism spectrum disorder, are they able to use it to learn novel abstract rules ?
Laboratorio de Neurociencia Integrativa