10-25_CultureIsAdaptation_2_-_6

10-25_CultureIsAdaptation_2_-_6 - 10/7/2011 Culture is an...

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10/7/2011 1 Culture is an Adaptation Why study adaptations Culture is derived Why culture is adaptive How (possibly) culture evolved Two more forces of cultural evolution Culture is an Adaptation Why study adaptations Culture is derived Why culture is adaptive How (possibly) culture evolved Two more forces of cultural evolution Can it be adaptive to imitate? Imitation means that individuals do something “just because” the observe others doing it Some people think it is obvious that imitation is adaptive Others think it is obvious that it imitation is never adaptive It is commonly argued that culture evolves to save the costs of learning Imagine being suddenly abandoned on a mythical island. ..The intrepid but unwary castaway might try direct experimentation to gain sustenance. ..But hasty trials with unknown contingencies also invite punishing, perhaps fatal effects. ..watching or asking the local inhabitants would be. ..more informative ( Rosenthal and Zimmerman 1978: 208 ). But if people imitate, why is behavior adaptive? But why would selection ever produce a psychological mechanism that specifies a rule such as: detect the features of female bodies that those around you perceive as attractive and perceive those as attractive yourself?. ..If there were such a mechanism, standards of sexual attractiveness would be as arbitrary as the relationship between the word “apple” and the fruit. There would be no consistent relationship between standards of attractiveness and female “mate value.” ( An evolutionary psychologist ) psychology behavior selection Culture creates minds selection Minds create culture psychology behavior
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10/7/2011 2 A population of minds interact to create culture psychology behavior selection Population biology provides useful tools for understanding such interactions. psychology behavior Can selection favor blind imitation? Consider a large population of organisms Lives in environment with two states 1 & 2 Switches states with constant probability each time period Two behaviors Behavior 1 favored in environment 1 Behavior 2 favored in environment 2 Two genotypes Learners observe environmental cue and “choose” behavior Imitators copy a random individual Alan Rogers Learning leads to errors when cues are imperfect predictors of environment Learning leads to errors when cues are imperfect
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10-25_CultureIsAdaptation_2_-_6 - 10/7/2011 Culture is an...

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