University of Exeter


PSY3004 Special Topics in Psychology/PSY6006 Advanced Seminars
Evolution of Human Behaviour Seminar Course

Animal cultures and cultural evolution

There is a set of notes to accompany this reading list

Basic Reading

Additional material

Evidence for cultural variation in animals

Note that we only have one copy of the Heyes & Galef book from which several of the following references come. However, if you consult the abstracts, you are likely to find alternative articles by the authors listed here.

Adaptive nature of culturally determined behaviour

Explicit sociobiology of human cultures

Questions for discussion

  1. Do the animal data support Dawkins' meme theory of cultural evolution?
  2. On the whole, are culturally determined behaviours adaptive?
  3. If adaptiveness does not determine what cultures and/or culturally determined traits survive, what are the true selective forces acting on cultures? Are they different in humans and in other animals?
  4. Could cultural evolution support group selection?

Stephen Lea

University of Exeter
Department of Psychology
Washington Singer Laboratories
Exeter EX4 4QG
United Kingdom
Tel +44 1392 264626
Fax +44 1392 264623

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Document revised 19th July 1999