Costs of Learning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Understanding the costs of learning may allow us to understand variation in learning abilities across species. The costs of learning stem from the costs of obtaining information. The costs of acquiring information are present mostly at the behavioral level in terms of the time, energy, and risk associated with sampling a range of behavioral traits and environments. The costs of information processing and storage are found mostly at the tissue level, in terms of the energy required to develop, maintain, and use neural tissue. The consequences of these costs may be direct life-history trade-offs, or they may select for changes in development that partly reduce information costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Animal Behavior
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780080453378
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain size
  • Delayed reproduction
  • Exploration
  • Information
  • Innate bias
  • Learning
  • Life history
  • Parental investment
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Philopatry
  • Sampling
  • Tradeoffs


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