10-11_CultureEvolves_1_-_6

10-11_CultureEvolves_1_-_6 - 10/7/2011 Culture Evolves...

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10/7/2011 1 Culture Evolves Culture is (mostly) information in human brains Building models of cultural evolution The forces of cultural evolution Cultural variants aren’t much like genes Cultural variants can be small or big Culture Evolves Culture is (mostly) information in human brains Building models of cultural evolution The forces of cultural evolution Cultural variants aren’t much like genes Cultural variants can be small or big Cultures involve huge amounts of transmitted information Data indicates that a cultural variation is a complex, highly structured body of information 80,000 words Construction and user’s manuals for technology Knowledge about plants and animals Knowledge about social rules This information is preserved through time English and Sanskrit last common ancestor 3000 years ago Associations preserved over 200 generations of transmission Human brains are the only objects sufficiently complex to store cultural information Information must be stored in a complex, physical object With a few exceptions artifacts are not sufficiently complex Hard to reverse engineer Much culture is declarative knowledge In most human environments the only objects capable of storing such information are human genomes and human brains We know its not genes Must be brains I will refer to such information as cultural variants Lots of other proposals
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This note was uploaded on 10/31/2011 for the course ANTHRO 186P taught by Professor Boyd during the Fall '09 term at UCLA.

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10-11_CultureEvolves_1_-_6 - 10/7/2011 Culture Evolves...

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