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Groupe Lehmann - Coevolution of genes and learning of social behaviors.


We develop mathematical and simulation models in order to study the evolution of social behaviors; in particular helping behaviors (cooperation, altruism, benevolence) and harming behaviors (spite, warfare, malevolence, exploitation). We try to understand and disaggregate the role of several factors for the evolution of these behaviors:

Demography and life-history -- What are the life-cycle conditions and the population structures and processes that favor or inhibit the emergence of sociality?

Cultural transmission -- What types of social learning rule evolve? When does cultural transmission promotes cooperation?

Learning -- How does individual learning and experience shape social behaviors? Are benevolence and malevolence genetically determined or acquired during an individual's lifespan?


Why models are useful

The world is a misty region.

The first explorers used unaided vision.

Mathematics is the lantern by which what was before dimly visible now looms up in firm, bold outlines.

The old phantasmagoria disappear.

We see better. 

We also see further.
            Irving Fisher (1892)


In press |  2014 |  2013 |  2012 |  2011 | 

In Press
Dridi S., Lehmann L., In Press. A model for the evolution of reinforcement learning in fluctuating games. Animal Behaviour . [Document]
Dridi S., Lehmann L., 2014. On learning dynamics underlying the evolution of learning rules. Theoretical Population Biology 91 pp. 20-36. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Lehmann L., Rousset F., 2014. Fitness, inclusive fitness, and optimization. Biology and Philosophy 29(2) pp. 181-185. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Lehmann L., Rousset F., 2014. The genetical theory of social behaviour. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 369(1642) p. 20130357. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Mullon C., Lehmann L., 2014. The robustness of the weak selection approximation for the evolution of altruism against strong selection. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 27(10) pp. 2272-2282. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Mullon C., Reuter M., Lehmann L., 2014. The evolution and consequences of sex-specific reproductive variance. Genetics 196(1) pp. 235-252. [Document] [DOI] [Pubmed]
Peña J., Lehmann L., Nöldeke G., 2014. Gains from switching and evolutionary stability in multi-player matrix games. Journal of Theoretical Biology 346 pp. 23-33. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Powers S.T., Lehmann L., 2014. An evolutionary model explaining the Neolithic transition from egalitarianism to leadership and despotism. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences 281(1791) p. 20141349. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Wakano J.Y., Lehmann L., 2014. Evolutionary branching in deme-structured populations. Journal of Theoretical Biology 351 pp. 83-95. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Lehmann L., Wakano J.Y., 2013. The handaxe and the microscope: individual and social learning in a multidimensional model of adaptation. Evolution and Human Behavior 34(2) pp. 119-117. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Lehmann L., Wakano J.Y., Aoki K., 2013. On optimal learning schedules and the marginal value of cumulative cultural evolution. Evolution 67(5) pp. 1435-1445. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Mc Ginty S.É., Lehmann L., Brown S.P., Rankin D.J., 2013. The interplay between relatedness and horizontal gene transfer drives the evolution of plasmid-carried public goods. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences 280(1761) p. 20130400. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Powers S.T., Lehmann L., 2013. The co-evolution of social institutions, demography, and large-scale human cooperation. Ecology Letters 16(11) pp. 1356-1364. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Van Cleve J., Lehmann L., 2013. Stochastic stability and the evolution of coordination in spatially structured populations. Theoretical Population Biology 89 pp. 75-87. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Aoki K., Wakano J.Y., Lehmann L., 2012. Evolutionarily stable learning schedules and cumulative culture in discrete generation models. Theoretical Population Biology 81(4) pp. 300-309. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Lehmann L., Rousset F., 2012. The evolution of social discounting in hierarchically clustered populations. Molecular Ecology 21(3) pp. 447-471. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Yeaman S., Schick A., Lehmann L., 2012. Social network architecture and the maintenance of deleterious cultural traits. Journal of the Royal Society, Interface 9(70) pp. 848-858. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Abbot P., Abe J., Alcock J., Alizon S., Alpedrinha J.A., Andersson M., Andre J.B., van Baalen M., Balloux F., Balshine S. et al., 2011. Inclusive fitness theory and eusociality. Nature 471(7339) pp. E1-E4; author reply E9-E10. [DOI] [Pubmed]

Group leader

Graduate Students

Former Group Members



Laurent Lehmann
Office room: 3124
Phone: +4121 692 4183
Fax: +4121 692 4165

Administrative assistant
Office room: 3109
Phone: +4121 4260
Fax: +412 692 4165

Biophore - CH-1015 Lausanne  - Switzerland  -  Tel. +41 21 692 41 60  -  Fax +41 21 692 41 65
Swiss University