Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Social learning by observation is analogue, instruction is digital

Marion Blute a1
a1 Department of Sociology, University of Toronto at Mississauga, Mississauga, Ont. L5L 1C6,


Social learning in the strict sense is learning by observation or instruction. Learning by observation appears to be an analogue process while learning by instruction is digital. In evolutionary biology this distinction is currently thought to have implications for the extent to which mechanisms can function successfully as an inheritance system in an evolutionary process.