Social learning has been documented in a wide diversity of animals. In free-living animals, however, it has been difficult to discern whether animals learn socially by observing other group members or asocially by acquiring a new behaviour independently. We addressed this challenge by developing network-based diffusion analysis (NBDA), which analyses the spread of traits through animal groups and takes into account that social network structure directs social learning opportunities. NBDA fits agent-based models of social and asocial learning to the observed data using maximum-likelihood estimation. The underlying learning mechanism can then be identified using model selection based on the Akaike information criterion. … Network Based Diffusion Analysis (NBDA) google