The Role of Stability in Cultural Evolution: Innovation and Conformity in Implicit Knowledge Discovery

Chapter

Abstract

One of the defining traits of humanity is our capacity for accumulating innovations. While many authors focus on the innovation process itself, Evolutionary Anthropology has become more interested in the accumulation part of this uniqueness, and in particularly whether something like an evolutionary account of cultural acquisition can explain it. In this chapter I discuss the role and sources of innovation in generating culture, and also the role of norms in preserving it. I demonstrate through two sets of simulation experiments a model of cultural evolution exploring the problem of cultural stability and change. The first models the impact of noisy transmission and modularity on cultural stability. The second looks at the impact on cultural change if a biologically-advantageous variant emerges of a single cultural trait.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BathBathUK

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