Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Dual Inheritance Theory

  • Connair J. S. Russell
  • Michael MuthukrishnaEmail author
Living reference work entry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1381-2



Dual Inheritance Theory is a theoretical framework positing that human biology and behavior are influenced by two lines of inherited information: a genetic line, which all species inherit from their biological parents, and a cultural line, unique to our species, which we inherit from other members of our society.


Dual Inheritance Theory was first developed by two population geneticists (Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman 1981) and an anthropologist and an ecologist (Boyd and Richerson 1985) as a set of formal mathematical models to describe the transmission and evolution of culture – beliefs, values, behaviors, technology, and other socially transmitted knowledge possessed by societies around the world. Both pairs of scholars drew on the rich toolkit of evolutionary biology that had so nicely described the rest of the natural world, extending it to explain...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Connair J. S. Russell
    • 1
    • 3
  • Michael Muthukrishna
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychological and Behavioural ScienceLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Human Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Naturalistic Social Cognition GroupMax Planck Institute for Human DevelopmentBerlinGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Douglas Sellers
    • 1
  1. 1.Penn State Worthington ScrantonScrantonUSA