Experimental and Monte Carlo methods were used to test theoretical predictions about adaptive learning of cooperative responses without awareness in minimal social situations—games in which the payoffs to players depend not on their own actions but exclusively on the actions of other group members. In Experiment 1, learning occurred slowly over 200 rounds in a dyadic minimal social situation but not in multiplayer groups. In Experiments 2–4, learning occurred rarely in multiplayer groups, even when players were informed that they were interacting strategically and were allowed to communicate with one another but were not aware of the game’s payoff structure. Monte Carlo simulation suggested that players approach minimal social situations using a noisy version of the win–stay, lose–shift decision rule, deviating from the deterministic rule less frequently after rewarding than unrewarding round
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