EHBEA 2017 Satellite Meeting on Cultural Evolution

A Satellite Meeting will be organised before the EHBEA annual conference (6th-8th April, Paris, France).

« Cultural Evolution by Cultural Attraction: Empirical Issues »


Time:
Wednesday the 5th of April 2016 (from 9:00-17:00)

Location: Ecole Normale Supérieure (Salle Langevin)

Registration: Registration is free (send en email to nbaumard@gmail.com). Up to 50 participants can register. Registration is on a first come, first served basis.

Questions? Contact Nicolas Baumard (nbaumard@gmail.com)

Organisers:

Nicolas Baumard, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris
Nicolas Claidière, CNRS, Marseille
Olivier Morin, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena
Thom Scott-Phillips, Central European University & Durham University

Introduction:

Cultural Attraction Theory (CAT) is a framework for the development of natural scientific explanations of culture. It is based on the idea that cultural phenomena – cooking, languages, graphic systems, religious beliefs, or legal norms – spread and stabilize to the extent that they follow “factors of attraction”. These factors can take many forms – e.g., cognitive, biological, ecological, and so on. To take the case of cognitive attractors, CAT predicts that cultural phenomena that trigger evolved cognitive mechanisms such as disgust, object recognition, agent detection or the sense of fairness will be more likely to be understood, memorized and transmitted in a population. CAT has several points of contact with more mainstream approaches to cultural evolution, but also some important differences, particularly regarding the role of selection.

Moving on from theoretical discussion, this workshop will consider cultural attraction from an empirical perspective. We have gathered together eight researchers who aim, in their empirical work, at naturalistic, causal explanation of culture, and who make use of the tools and insights of CAT to different degrees (some to a large degree, others not so much). Our objective is to explore the extent to which CAT is a useful framework with which to propose and develop natural scientific explanations of culture.

Confirmed speakers:

Alberto Acerbi, Eindhoven University of Technology
Nicolas Baumard, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris
Nicolas Claidière, CNRS, Marseille
Fiona Jordan, University of Bristol
Ruth Mace, University College London
Hugo Mercier, CNRS, Lyon
Olivier Morin, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena
Daniel Nettle, University of Newcastle
Benjamin Purzycki, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Thom Scott-Phillips, Central European University & Durham University
Dan Sperber, Central European University

More information here.

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