I gave yesterday a talk, via Skype, in the Cultural Evolution Seminar series at Tartu, Estonia. Oleg Sobchuk and the other organisers are doing a great job, I think, to diffuse knowledge about cultural evolution (and cognitive sciences, and digital humanities, etc.) and I was pleased to give my small contribution. Their website links also to the videos of two of the previous speakers, Cristina Moya and Alex Mesoudi, and provides excellent reading materials and information about cultural evolution.
Wednesday 20 March I will give a talk for the Bristol Archaeology and Anthropology Research Seminars series (Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, MA Seminar Room, 43 Woodland Road, Bristol). Below is the abstract:
In this talk I will explore how individual-level biases in selection of cultural variants impact on long term cultural change. Cultural evolutionary researches focus usually on contextual – or social – biases (i.e. copy from the majority, copy prestigious individuals, and so on), and relatively less attention is payed to content biases, i.e. intrinsic features of cultural variants that make them more attractive, or more “sticky”. I will show, using mathematical models and computer simulations, that various combinations of biases produce different long term cultural dynamics, and that we may be able, by comparing models predictions with empirical data, to recognise the role of attraction and social influence in cultural evolution.