Tag Archives: cultural evolution

Why does culture sometimes evolve via sudden bursts of innovation?

Human beings inherit many genetic traits directly from their parents. However, cultural traits – tools, beliefs and behaviors that are transmitted by learning – can be passed on not only by parents but also teachers and peers. Many animals have … Continue reading

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Cultural evolution: Subsistence and social learning

Social learning is a crucial building block of human culture, but how and why do people vary in their propensity to learn from others? Experiments in Ethiopia suggest that pastoralists rely more on others’ knowledge than do horticulturalists. Every day … Continue reading

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Cultural evolution of normative motivations for sustainable behaviour

An emerging literature on the evolution of culture can offer new explanations for how norms encourage or obstruct sustainable practices. In particular, the dual-inheritance theory describes how interactions between genetic and cultural evolution give rise, in part, to prosociality. Based … Continue reading

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Analysis of interdisciplinary cultural evolution

The science of cultural evolution is unified in its application of evolutionary logic to socially transmitted behavior, but diverse in methodologies and assumptions. Qualitative reviews have encouraged integration by illuminating points of divergence and fostering interaction. This effort would be … Continue reading

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The Neolithic Revolution in the Near East: Transforming the Human Landscape

One of humanity’s most important milestones was the transition from hunting and gathering to food production and permanent village life. This Neolithic Revolution first occurred in the Near East, changing the way humans interacted with their environment and each other, … Continue reading

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Campfire Stories Helped Human Culture Evolve

While today sitting around a campfire, is just seen as good fun, a new study shows that 400,000 to one million years ago, these types of gatherings actually helped human culture evolve. All those years ago, the flames not only … Continue reading

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Evolution in Leaps: The punctuated Accumulation and Loss of Cultural Innovations

Archaeological accounts of cultural change reveal a fundamental conflict: Some suggest that change is gradual, accelerating over time, whereas others indicate that it is punctuated, with long periods of stasis interspersed by sudden gains or losses of multiple traits. Existing … Continue reading

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Population Size does not explain Past Changes in Cultural Complexity

Archaeologists have long tried to understand why cultural complexity often changed in prehistory. Recently, a series of highly influential formal models have suggested that demography is the key factor. According to these models, the size of a population determines its … Continue reading

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Culture and the Self – Implications for Cognition, Emotion, and Motivation

People in different cultures have strikingly different construals of the self, of others, and of the interdependence of the two. These construals can influence, and in many cases determine, the very nature of individual experience, including cognition, emotion, and motivation. … Continue reading

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Culture and Psychology

Interest in understanding cultural influences on mental processes and behaviors continues to grow in all areas of psychology, and new research and new knowledge on this topic is created constantly. Much of this new information has brought about increased awareness … Continue reading

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