The revival of the Baldwin effect

José F. Fontanari, Mauro Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017, EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany. The idea that a genetically fixed behavior evolved from the once differential learning ability of individuals that performed the behavior is known as the Baldwin effect. A highly influential paper [G.E. Hinton, S.J. Nowlan, Complex Syst. 1, 495 (1987)] claimed that this effect can be observed in silico, but here we argue that what was actually shown is that the learning ability is easily selected for. Then we demonstrate the Baldwin effect to happen in the in silico scenario by estimating the probability and waiting times for the learned behavior to become innate. Depending on parameter values, we find that learning can increase the chance of fixation of the learned behavior by several orders of magnitude compared with the non-learning situation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number186
JournalEuropean Physical Journal B
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics


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