Copying others can lead to greater comfort with riskier behavior

The best things in life are unlikely to occur. In many situations, taking at least moderate risks yields higher expected rewards. Yet many people struggle with taking such risks: they are overly cautious and forego high payoffs. “However, we are not alone in this struggle, but we can observe and learn from others,” says Wataru Toyokawa. “We therefore wanted to find out whether social learning can also rescue us from adverse risk aversion.” The answer is yes, as the authors from the Cluster of Excellence Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour showed in a recently published study in the journal eLife.

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