Cultural Evolution

Leda Cosmides talk - Modeling cultural evolution requires evolutionary psychology

Modeling cultural evolution requires evolutionary psychology

Talk given in Sept 2021 as part of the awarding to Leda Cosmides and John Tooby of the Jean Nicod Prize 2020. (Unfortunately the first 13 minutes are quite quiet due to a technical problem but they're still audible.)

The central point of the talk is that cultural evolution (a la Rob Boyd, Peter Richerson, Joe Henrich etc) should not be treated as entirely separate from evolutionary psychology. She gives several fascinating examples of evolved cognitive mechanisms (eg incest avoidance mechanisms, reciprocal altruism mechanisms, toxicity avoidance mechanisms etc) that have considerable innate content as well as considerable impact on our cultural behaviours, such that it would be unwise to treat cultural evolution as operating in isolation from the neural mechanisms that necessarily underpin it.

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