Social Learning and the Brain: How Do We Learn From and About Other People?

Bianca Westhoff, Iris Koele & Ilse H. van de Groep

When you think about learning, you probably think about things you are taught at school. But have you ever realized you use a different type of learning as well, on a daily basis? This type of learning is called social learning, and it has to do with the people around you. That is, you learn from and about others by watching and interacting with them. For example, seeing someone else’s mistakes may teach you to avoid falling into the same trap. Although social learning happens very often, you may not yet know much about it. However, social learning is very important because it helps us to learn more efficiently and to determine how best to behave around others. In this article, we introduce two different types of social learning, and explain how your brain plays an important role.

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Cover Image Illustration by Storyset