What would you do?

15th February 2008 at 00:00
School pupils have been challenged to out-think professional researchers in a computer-based tournament addressing fundamental questions about how we learn.

There is a pound;1,000 prize on offer for the best school entry, put up by the Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution at St Andrews University's school of biology.

Organisers want entrants to think about how they would survive in an unfamiliar environment.

The centre's Luke Rendell said: "We are interested in discovering how individuals would learn to survive. Would you invest time working out what to do on your own, or observe other individuals and copy them? If you copy, who would you copy? Would you always copy or do so selectively? These questions lie at the centre of a scientific challenge with important implications for the evolution of learning and culture."

Entries are expected to come from many areas of research, including artificial intelligence, economics, anthropology, and biology.

The tournament is supported by the EU-funded Cultaptation project, which involves researchers in Scotland, Sweden and Italy.

http:lalandlab.st-andrews.ac.uk.

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