Nicolas Claidière

Nicolas Claidière

These are Nicolas Claidière's thoughts on the workshop on cultural evolution convened by Dan Dennett in Santa Fe in May 2014. Dennett's introduction is here. *** (Clarification: I use disagreement in the sense of interesting topic that could be discussed/ researched further and questions in ...

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What explains the stability of animal culture?

Recently, Dan Sperber and I published a paper entitled "Imitation explains the propagation, not the stability of animal culture" in which we argued that contrary to what is generally assumed, imitation and other forms of social learning are generally not faithful enough to explain the ...

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Can you tell the language of the mother from her baby’s cry?

A recently published article by Birgit Mampe, Angela D. Friederici, Anne Christophe and Kathleen Wermke entitled "Newborns' Cry Melody Is Shaped by Their Native Language" shows evidence that newborns' cry melody is influenced by the native language of their mother. The authors ...

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Alloparental care and wandering baby monkeys

Pierre Jacob recently discussed Sarah Hrdy's book Mothers and Others in which she argues that humans, like New World monkeys but unlike other apes, are cooperative breeders. As Pierre summarizes, cooperative breeding implies that newborns and youngsters have evolved the capacity to engage ...

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The Chameleon effect in Capuchin Monkeys

Imitation, as you probably know, has received considerable attention during the past 20 years or so because it was first argued that it was a uniquely human psychological mechanism that could partly explain the development of human material culture (see Whiten et al. 2004 for a review with histor...

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Murder in Saint Andrews

Last week I was enjoying a very pleasant evening in St Andrews. The sky was clear, the last rays of sun were warming the beach, the sound of the sea was pleasanty resting my exhausted mind. On my way back from the beach I crossed a small car park and while I was peacefully enjoying this last moment ...

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A role for dyslexia in language evolution?

In a new paper Gabrieli highlight the recent results of cognitive neuroscience research on dyslexia and its potentdiial consequences for the treatment of dyslexic children through educative measures. What Gabrieli show is that dyslexia, an impairement in reading abilities linked to difficulties ...

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Is language a replicator?

In a recent review Mark Pagel argues that language is a culturally transmitted replicator (Pagel, 2009). Pagel starts by offering a useful update on phylogenetic methods and then uses a comparison between genetics and language phylogenetic trees to reveal similarities between cultural and ...

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Experimental evidence for the Broken Window Theory

In the late 80's, New York experienced a high rate of violence and crack was everywhere. In 1985 when George L. Kelling, coauthor of the article "Broken Windows", was hired as a consultant to the New York City Transit Authority, the subway was awfull. Kelling implemented new measures. ...

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Into the dynamic of hot topics

"Have you heard about the subprime crisis?" A few days before I was first asked that question I did not even know what a subprime was, but just in a week or so subprimes had become a major topic for news, conversation, rumors and even jokes. 'Subprime crisis' is an example of the ...

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