Detailed information about the course

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The costs and benefits of information acquisition and use in social interactions


6-9 July 2015


Dr Leif Engqvist, University of Bern (CH)

Prof. Michael Taborsky, Univerity of Bern (CH)


Dr. Sarah Brosnan, Georgia State University (US)

Prof. Thomas Bugnyar, University of Vienna (AT)

Dr. Sasha Dall, University of Exeter (UK)

Dr. Keith Jensen, University of Manchester (UK)

Prof. Jens Krause, Leibniz Inst. Berlin (DE)

Prof. David Stephens, University of Minnesota (US)


Adaptive decision making depends on the quality of available information. The significance of direct or indirect information involved in social decisions is little understood. Evidence for constraints and substantial costs in the acquisition and processing of information is accumulating. Accordingly, behavioural decisions often seem to be made with imperfect knowledge, following “rules of thumb” rather than applying prudent assessment to make optimal choices. Furthermore, individuals may or may not benefit from sharing information; hence they may transmit only partial or false information.


The aim of this workshop is to discuss these issues in an evolutionary framework, both from an empirical and theoretical perspective. Questions discussed in this workshop will include, for instance, how different costs of information acquisition and use will change predictions on adaptive decision making; or, whether seemingly irrational or “wrong” decisions may actually make sense when taking costs and constraints on information use into account. These are topics of great interest to students and scientists from different disciplines, such as behavioural ecology, neurobiology, cognitive sciences, and psychology. Interaction between different fields will identify open questions and directions for future interdisciplinary research.


The program of the workshop will consist of a combination of plenary talks by invited speakers and work performed in small groups, in which the participants will discuss a particular theme together with one of the invited speakers. The results of these small-group sessions willl be presented to the plenum by student participants, followed by a general discussion.








Full attendance and active participation


6-9 July 2015


Hotel Kurhaus, Arolla


Caroline Betto-Colliard
Phone: +41 (0)21 692 42 44


Workshop attendance (including room and board): Free for PhD students of the DPEE. 400CHF: for participants from CUSO universities (Lausanne, Bern, Neuchâtel, Geneva and Fribourg) 450CHF: for all other participants

PhD students of the DPEE are eligible for reimbursement of incurred travel expenses by train (half-fare card, and 2nd class). Please send the original tickets (no copies, except for the general abonnement) with the reimbursement form to Caroline Betto-Colliard.


CUSO PhD students: through your MyCUSO account.  External participants (non-CUSO PhD students, post-docs, etc...): use the icon "registration" at top of page and the last gray box "non-CUSO student" ("personne hors myCUSO").



Deadline for registration 23.06.2015
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