10-13_CultureEvolves_2_-_6

10-13_CultureEvolves_2_-_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 Biased transmission Natural selection Cultural variants aren’t much like genes Cultural variants can be small or big Wait a minute…isn’t this just history?? Human societies are diverse, every situation is unique There can’t ever be more than the concrete events in particular settings Many historians argue all you can do is record historical events in context Is there more to Darwin’s method than just history?? Yes, but so is genetic evolution Every species is unique There can’t ever be more than the concrete events in particular settings But, biologists don’t just keep track of what happens… Instead, they keep lump similar processes into categories Forces of evolution are types of processes that lead to change Some of the forces in genetic evolution are: natural selection mutation genetic drift These are categories of real world events that have similar population properties Details differ widely from case to case, but But, there is a generic similarity Useful to try to understand the generic properties of such categories Parents Children Young Adults Adults Other Adults Unbiased Transmission Biased Transmission Natural Selection Accurately copy cultural variants No change Preferentially acquire some variants Preferred variants increase Cultural variants cause events that make bearers more (or less) likely to be imitated Favored variants increase
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10/7/2011 2 Biased transmission occurs when some variants are more likely to be acquired than others Can result from evaluation of alternatives Can result from innate predispositions Always depends on psychology of learners Diffusion of innovations is an example of biased transmission due to evaluation of alternatives Slow: not many adopters Fast: much variation Slow: most have adopted Example: spread of hybrid corn in US Midwest during 1940’s Farmers not much affected by advertising
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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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10-13_CultureEvolves_2_-_6 - 10/7/2011 Culture Evolves...

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