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  • 1 School of Education, Culture and Communication, Mälardalen University, Box 883, SE-72123, Västerås, Sweden
  • 2 Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
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Abstract

We discuss theoretical and empirical arguments for a human bias to acquire information individually rather than socially. In particular, we argue that when other people can be observed, information collection is a public good and hence some of the individual variation in the choice between individual and social learning can be explained by variation in social value orientation. We conducted two experimental studies, based on the game Explore & Collect, to test the predictions that (1) socially and individually acquired information of equal objective value are treated differently, and (2) prosocial subjects tend to spend more effort than selfish subjects on individual acquiring of information. Both predictions were supported.

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