Remember - besides parent-to-offspring: a. Vertical (across...

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Remember (from the previous lecture notes) that all that is required for Darwinian evolution is 1) individual variation that is 2) heritable and 3) affects fitness All three are present in systems of cultural inheritance: 1. Individual variation arises through learning errors, inventions, etc. 2. Heritability involves cultural transmission of beliefs & preferences (units of cultural inheritance for which Dawkins has coined the term "memes") 3. Differential fitness occurs through effects of memes on survival and reproduction, which can allow natural selection to act on culture Table summarizes parallels as well as differences between genetic evolution vs. cultural evolution While the parallels are important, the differences are equally so: 1. Unlike mutations, cultural innovations not necessarily random; instead, often chosen to solve problems ("directed variation") 2. Culture involves many different transmission structures
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Unformatted text preview: besides parent-to-offspring: a. Vertical (across generation) can be just one parent (e.g., matrilineal), or adoptive parent, or unrelated elder b. Horizontal (members of same generation, like siblings or friends) c. One-to-many (teacher/elder/priest/etc.) d. Many-to-one (peer groups, conformism) 3. Memes rate of replication may vary because of differences in their attractiveness (due to genetically-evolved learning biases, as well as culturally-evolved preferences) 4. Memes may also increase in frequency if they lead one to achieve influential position in social hierarchy (discussed below) These differences can produce very different outcomes from genetic evolution; specifically, they allow us to predict that: 1) Cultural evol. will generally be much more rapid than genetic evol. 2) Cultural evol. may sometimes favor neutral or even maladadaptive outcomes (in terms of genetic fitness) 2)...
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