Author Archives: Giorgio Bertini

About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++

The evolution of cognitive mechanisms in response to cultural innovations

When humans and other animals make cultural innovations, they also change their environment, thereby imposing new selective pressures that can modify their biological traits. For example, there is evidence that dairy farming by humans favored alleles for adult lactose tolerance. … Continue reading

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What is cumulative cultural evolution?

In recent years, the phenomenon of cumulative cultural evolution (CCE) has become the focus of major research interest in biology, psychology and anthropology. Some researchers argue that CCE is unique to humans and underlies our extraordinary evolutionary success as a … Continue reading

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An evolutionary timeline of Homo Sapiens

The long evolutionary journey that created modern humans began with a single step—or more accurately—with the ability to walk on two legs. One of our earliest-known ancestors, Sahelanthropus, began the slow transition from ape-like movement some six million years ago, … Continue reading

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Game-Changing Innovations: How Culture Can Change the Parameters of Its Own Evolution and Induce Abrupt Cultural Shifts

One of the most puzzling features of the prehistoric record of hominid stone tools is its apparent punctuation: it consists of abrupt bursts of dramatic change that separate long periods of largely unchanging technology. Within each such period, small punctuated … Continue reading

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Cultural Innovations and Demographic Change

Demography plays a large role in cultural evolution through its effects on the effective rate of innovation. If we assume that useful inventions are rare, then small isolated societies will have low rates of invention. In small populations, complex technology … Continue reading

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Role of Peers in Cultural Innovation and Cultural Transmission

Observations of the spontaneous play behaviors of a group of captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) revealed that each individual calf’s play became more complex with increasing age, suggesting that dolphin play may facilitate the ontogeny and maintenance of flexible problem … Continue reading

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The Ape that Understood the Universe: How the Mind and Culture Evolve

The Ape that Understood the Universe is the story of the strangest animal in the world: the human animal. It opens with a question: How would an alien scientist view our species? What would it make of our sex differences, … Continue reading

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Homo erectus—who, when and where: A survey

The state of information bearing on Homo erectus as developed since about 1960 is surveyed, with the resulting effects on problems. Definitions of H. erectus still rest on the Far Eastern samples (Chou‐k’ou‐tien/Java), and thus relate to late Lower to … Continue reading

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Cultural transmission and ecological opportunity jointly shaped global patterns of reliance on agriculture

The evolution of agriculture improved food security and enabled significant increases in the size and complexity of human groups. Despite these positive effects, some societies never adopted these practices, became only partially reliant on them, or even reverted to foraging … Continue reading

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How observing others’ behavior can increase cooperation

The question of how to get people to work together has bedeviled society for millennia. Now a large-scale field experiment testing how to get more than 2,400 participants to prevent blackouts in the real world is supporting theoretical work on … Continue reading

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