Cultural Evolution at EHBEA 2016

The annual conferences of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association (EHBEA) are usually cultural evolution-friendly. Same goes for this year: the conference will be held next week at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. All talks are in fact very relevant, but here a selection of the titles more explicitly related to cultural evolution, in chronological order (the full booklet can be downloaded here). It may give a reasonably good idea of what is currently happening in the field – with perhaps some Eurocentric bias.

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Redundant information, cultural evolution, and the perils of academic publishing

A paper I wrote together with Claudio Tennie has just been published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology. The role of redundant information in cultural transmission and cultural stabilization presents an individual-based model of the following, quite straightforward, idea (which was, admittedly, Claudio’s idea).

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The Speculative Origins of Monsters

[Below my contribution for a “Book Club” event, hosted by the International Cognition and Culture Institute website, and dedicated to the David Wengrow’s book, “The Origins of Monsters“.]

A researcher in the field of cultural evolution – whom I never met in person and would be probably very surprised of this wildly out-of-context mention – twitted, few weeks ago, that “Implementation is the hard part, not the idea. […] I have five ideas in the shower every morning. That’s the easy part.” My showers are, alas, far from being that exciting, but, for some reason, the musing resonated with me when I first saw it, and it continued to resonate through the reading of “The Origins of Monsters”.

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Cultural evolution: here and now

I am organising, together with Jeremy Kendal, Rachel KendalOlivier MorinThom Scott-Phillips and Jamie Tehrani (Olivier and myself being the “official” convenors), a panel at the Annual Conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA 2016), that will be held in Durham, from the 4th to the 7th of July.

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