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Culture II.

Evolutionary Psychology
by

Adam Putz

on 4 December 2013

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Transcript of Culture II.

Models of Cultural Evolution
Evolutionary Psychology
Adam Putz
PhD student
Why do we have culture at all?
What makes us capable of transmitting our culture?
Why is culture good for us?
What is the relationship between culture and genes?
The importance of ...
Anthropologists' view
Evolutionary theories
Dawkins and his memes
Psychological mechanisms
CULTURE
How did we go this far?
Culture as 'superorganism'
Explaining cultural differences with
innate differences
.
Evolutionary theories
What are memes?
How do we fall into culture?
10.000 years
hunting & gathering
metropolises & internet
the blink of an eye
No changes in the hardware (the brain)
Only in the software (culture & ideas)
'Universal People'
The Victorian era
Franz Boas
Alfred Kroeber
People's behavior needs to be understood in terms of their culture.
Cultural
differences
Genetic
differences
Evidence?
Language acquisition
Culture is superorganic!
it exists as an
autonomous force
free from human influence.
the mind was shaped almost entirely by the culture
Tooby & Cosmides
'Standard Social Sciences Model' (SSSM)
Donald Symons
evolutionary psychologist
Donald Brown
anthropologist
from the SSSM school
Certain sex differences are universal!
I bet that I can counter that!
Well... can I?
Donald Brown
Universal People
Burial rituals
Sex role differentiation
Incest taboos
Tool making
Proposing a set of
cultural universals
Universality
Innateness
Idea diffusion
Good ideas tend to spread from culture to culture.
Agriculture
Pottery
Tooby & Cosmides
Evoked vs. transmitted culture
Evoked culture
Cultural practices might arise as a result of
mental modules

that are
environmentally contingent
.
e.g.
life history theory of attachment
High-risk
environment...
maximizing
current
reproductive gain.
Low-risk
environment...
maximizing
future
reproductive gain.
Quantitative strategy
Qualitative strategy
Transmitted culture
The results of
imitation
,
modelling
and
idea diffusion
.
Dual inheritance theory
Boyd & Richerson
Genes
Culture
The mind (and thus behavior) is produced by two
interacting
modes of inheritance:
Ice age
Biological
evolution is too slow
Culture
enables humans to
'evolve' much faster

Lumsden & Wilson
Gene-culture co-evolution
"The genes hold culture on a leash."
/Wilson/
Innate learning capacities
make some cultural elements are easier to learn than others.
Epigenesis
The
interaction
between
genes
and the
environment
that occurs during development.
Epigenetic rules
e.g. incest taboo
Culturegens
the
patterns
of culture that are
transmitted between individuals
these serve to
increase the inclusive fitness
of those who acquire them
The Selfish Gene
Richard Dawkins
some cultural practices seem to have no obvious direct links to fitness (e.g. fashion or chastity)
None at all!
What benefits do these give to the individual?
Meme
the
unit of cultural inheritance
(see Lumsden & Wilson -
culturegen
)
Idea
Manifestations
Mental representation
~ genotype
~ phenotype
The relationship between memes and genes
Danial C. Dennett
genes are much more constrained than culture
genes can explain
some
aspects of culture, those that are the most directly linked to human inclusive fitness (e.g. incest taboos, sexual preferences, food choice)
other aspects of culture might better be explained by
interactions between memes.
Imitation
Winthrop & Luella Kellogg
reared an infant chimpanzee (Gua) alongside their similar aged son Donald
Donald was much better in imitation
Gua was better in those tasks that required fine motoric skills (e.g. eating with spoon)
Theory of Mind (ToM)
Tomasello
identifying
with our conspecifics
representing mental states
of others
inferring the intention
behind an action
essential for successful imitation
Emulation
in emulation the
intention isn't as clear
, so the
method is imprecisely executed
Nagell, Olguin and Tomasello
Japanese Macaques washing potatoes
Raking leaves
the new knowledge spreads very slowly, if it does at all
They are intimately entwined and co-dependent.
Fashion
Fertility
We won't find something attractive that would inhibit us to pass on our genes.
Full transcript