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Affective social learning is a relatively new concept that needed teasing out. In this introductory chapter, we set out what we meant by the notion as we initially set it out in previous versions. The goal here is to provide the reader with the background to the concept and indeed to the following chapters and, ultimately, to use as a starting point when measuring how the concept evolves over the length of the book. We begin then, by explaining how difficult it can be, conceptually, to marry three important areas of (psychological) research – emotion (affect), the ‘social’ and learning, before setting out the conditions and describing the major components involved in affective social learning. We end by briefly introducing the following chapters.
In this chapter, we apply the affective social learning (ASL) concept to the social learning of natural skill sets in immature orang-utans since it can serve as an illustration of the majority of learning that occurs in wild apes. Most orang-utan social learning happens during everyday tasks and without any active involvement of the role model. Consequently, detecting the emotional state(s) of the role model is nearly impossible. We focus therefore on the emotional responses of the immature learners to the role models’ behaviours. Our data on peering (attentive, sustained close-range watching of conspecifics), which is often followed by selective practice of the observed behaviour by the peerer, suggests that there is some highly specific emotional arousal of the immatures during social learning. The role models’ actions with the object seem to play a central role in the learning process. However, immatures appear to decide on their own whether to attend to the information or not, as in affective observation, the second stage of ASL. Developmental changes in role-model preferences support the notion that trust in the role model is critical for ASL to work. Given that we can use the learners’ responses as proof of the affective states of the role models, ASL may be an important part of the mechanism that guides and optimizes the acquisition of learned skills in wild great apes. However, the lower we set the bar for the affective states (or emotions) of the role models for ASL to work, the more difficult it is to verify their presence and the more ASL will overlap with ordinary social learning.
Interpersonally presented emotions help to calibrate people’s orientations to things happening in the shared environment. For example, social referencing involves one person seeking clarification of the appropriate appraisal of an object, event, or person, and another person responding with an emotional orientation that disambiguates things. However, this paradigmatic case represents only one of the possible ways in which emotions affect other people’s physical or mental attitudes. In other cases, emotion-related responses affect other people’s orientations independent of their explicit informational content. Further, emotional knowledge may be co-constructed dynamically rather than transmitted unidirectionally from one person to another. In these cases, affective social learning need not involve changes in the perceived meaning of emotional objects, but rather adjustments in interactants’ orientations to what is happening. This chapter suggests ways of extending and going beyond existing methodological and theoretical approaches to emotional influence and identifies some of the blindspots of previous research.
In this chapter we discuss the ways in which expressions of regret provide “lessons” for observers of those expressions, thereby constituting a case of affective social learning. We review three lines of research to argue that another person’s regret tells us something about the aversive consequences of a decision made by that person and influences our own behaviour when we have to make a similar decision. In the first line of research we found that participants who had seen another person acting unfairly but then expressing regret – as opposed to pride – were more likely to anticipate regret if they were to act the same way, and this anticipated emotion affected the likelihood of participants themselves acting fairly. This “lesson” learned by witnessing another person’s regret can also be extended to relations between groups. In the second line of research, observers appeared to “learn” from an out-group’s expression of regret that members of the out-group were unhappy about the decision they took, which encourages the observers to see the out-group as more trustworthy. In the third line of research, we show that similar effects are found when an in-group member expresses regret about the in-group’s failure to reciprocate the trust shown by an out-group. Thus, expressing regret serves the function of communicating the inappropriateness of the in-group’s decision and thereby encourages trusting behaviour in other in-group members. Our contention is that the effects of emotional expression in the experiments described here are due to shifts in the perceived appropriateness of certain behaviours, shifts that result from a process of affective social learning.
Recent research has shown that children often learn what to believe by attending to the claims of other people. Similarly, they often learn how to act by attending to the actions of other people. Moreover, in each of these two domains, children are selective in their learning – they prefer to endorse and to emulate individuals who, as representatives of the surrounding culture, can serve as good models. I argue that this type of selective social learning also plays a major role in children’s emotional development. Although young children may encounter some situations that have a universal biological significance – for example a steep cliff or a sudden loud noise – the emotional implications of many encounters, especially with artefacts, people and foods, are likely to vary from one culture to another. Children can learn to perceive these encounters through the distinctive emotional lens of their own culture if they attend to and adopt the expressive appraisals of individuals who are representative of their culture. Such appraisals may be conveyed non-verbally, as in the classic social-referencing paradigm, but they can also be conveyed verbally.
Affective social learning is a novel concept that aims to conceptualize the transmission of social value. Within the pages of this volume, this simple idea and our presentation of it has already inspired researchers from different disciplines to address what this might mean for their research and for affective science more generally. In this concluding chapter, we restate the motivation for coming up with the concept in the first place, with its origins in psychological and philosophical emotion theory most obviously, but also in anthropology, comparative psychology and sociology. We also insist on the novelty of the concept, undoubtedly due, at least in part, to its multidisciplinary origins. While avoiding the temptation to explicitly answer the points raised by the chapter authors one by one, we address the main points implicitly by either modifying or reformulating aspects of affective social learning before highlighting the points that we think most urgently need to be focused on in future research. While we will of course be continuing our research in this area, we hope that this chapter and indeed this volume more generally will continue to inspire others to join us in this project. In other words, and to paraphrase the title of this volume, we hope to have transmitted the value of affective social learning, socially speaking.
Spatial models are increasingly being used to target the most suitable areas for biodiversity conservation. This study investigates how the spatial tool Marxan with Zones (MARZONE) can be used to support the design of cost-effective biodiversity conservation policy. New in this study is the spatial analysis of the costs and effectiveness of different agro-environmental measures (AEMs) for habitat and biodiversity conservation in the Montado ecosystem in Portugal. A distinction is made between the financial costs paid to participating landowners and farmers for adopting AEMs and the broader economic opportunity costs of the corresponding land-use changes. Habitat and species conservation targets are furthermore defined interactively with the local government agency responsible for the management of protected areas, while the costs of agro-forestry activities and alternative land uses are estimated in direct consultation with local landowners. MARZONE identifies the spatial distribution of priority areas for conservation and the associated costs, some of which overlap with existing protected areas. These results provide useful insights into the trade-offs between nature conservation and the opportunity costs of protecting ecologically vulnerable areas, helping to improve current and future conservation policy design.
Written by experts in comparative, developmental, social, cognitive and cultural psychology, this book introduces the novel concept of affective social learning to help explain why what matters to us, matters to us. In the same way that social learning describes how we observe other people's behaviour to learn how to use a particular object, affective social learning describes how we observe other people's emotions to learn how to value a particular object, person or event. As such, affective social learning conceptualises the transmission of value from a given culture to a given person and reveals why the things that are so important to us can be of no consequence at all to others.
This study was designed to elucidate the biological variation in expression of many metabolites due to environment, genotype, or both, and to investigate the potential utility of metabolomics to supplement compositional analysis for the design of a new resilient cultivar of Brassica napus that can be steady in phytochemicals in different regions in France. Eight rapeseed varieties, grown in eight regions of France, were compared using a non-targeted metabolomics approach. The statistical analysis highlighted the distance and closeness between the samples in terms of both genotypes and geographical regions. A major environmental impact was observed on the polar metabolome, with different trends, depending on the varieties. Some varieties were very sensitive to the environment, while others were quite resilient. The identified secondary metabolites were mapped into the KEGG pathway database to reveal the most sensitive target proteins susceptible to environmental influences. A glucosyl-transferase encoded by the UGT84A1 gene involved in the biosynthesis of phenylpropanoid was identified. This protein could be rate limiting/promoting in this pathway depending on environmental conditions. The metabolomics approach used in this study demonstrated its efficiency to characterize the environmental influence on various cultivars of Brassica napus seeds and may help identify targets for crop improvement.
The self-report of some autistic individuals that they experience social motivation should not be interpreted as a refutation of neuroimaging evidence supporting the social motivation hypothesis of autism. Neuroimaging evidence supports subtle differences in unconscious reward processing, which emerge at the group level and which may not be perceptible to individuals, but which may nonetheless impact an individual's behavior.
The completion of a laser safety course remains a core surgical curriculum requirement for otolaryngologists training in the UK. This project aimed to develop a comprehensive laser safety course utilising both technical and non-technical skills simulation.
Otolaryngology trainees and consultants from the West of Scotland Deanery attended a 1-day course comprising lectures, two high-fidelity simulation scenarios and a technical simulation of safe laser use in practice.
The course, and in particular the use of simulation training, received excellent feedback from otolaryngology trainees and consultants who participated. Both simulation scenarios were validated for future use in laser simulation.
The course has been recognised as a laser safety course sufficient for the otolaryngology Certificate of Completion of Training. To the authors’ knowledge, this article represents the first description of using in situ non-technical skills simulation training for teaching laser use in otolaryngology.
Epidemiological studies have demonstrated an increased risk of developing non-transmittable diseases in adults subjected to adverse early developmental conditions. Metabolic and cardiovascular diseases have been the focus of most studies. Nevertheless, data from animal models also suggest early programming of fertility. In humans, it is difficult to assess the impact of the in utero environment retrospectively. Birthweight is commonly used as an indirect indicator of intrauterine development. This research is part of the ALIFERT study. We investigated a potential link between ponderal index at birth and female fertility in adulthood. Data from 51 infertile and 74 fertile women were analysed. BW was on average higher in infertile women, whereas birth length did not differ between the two groups; thus, resulting in a significantly higher ponderal index at birth in infertile women. Ponderal index at birth has been identified as a risk factor for infertility. These results suggest the importance of the intra-uterine environment, not only for long-term metabolic health but also for fertility.