Evolution: Biological, Social, Cultural

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Studying Cultural Evolution at the Tips: Human Cross-cultural Ecology

Studying Cultural Evolution at the Tips: Human Cross-cultural Ecology

Can natural selection act on cultural variation? Cultural variation is the variation among social groups found in many social animals, from the leaf-tools of the New Caledonian crows and the sponge-tools of the Bottlenose dolphins, to termite-fishing in chimpanzees and the multi- tude of archeological tools and ornaments, dwellings and institutions of hominid societies (Laland and Janik 2006). The particular variants in these social traditions may not be caused by genetic variation, but they do have histories and can have consequences for an individual’s lifetime repro- ductive output. But how could evolutionary theory work above the levels of genes and individuals, at the level of whole communities? The American evolutionary biologist G.C. Williams (1966) famously promoted the view that evolution happens predominantly through the survival and reproduction of individuals and cautioned biologists to distinguish the evolved features of a group (a fleet herd of deer) from those of individuals (a herd of fleet deer). However, selection among groups has come to be consid- ered an important force in evolutionary biology (Wade 1985; Szathmáry and Demeter 1987; Keller 1999; Okasha 2006; Traulsen and Nowak 2006). Group (e.g. kin) selection helps to explain the variation at all the levels of biological organization created by major evolutionary transitions (Maynard-Smith and Szathmary 1995), from the grouping of genes into chromosomes, and cells into multicellular organisms, to the grouping of multicellular organisms into social groups and colonies. Hypotheses that human behavior also may have evolved adaptations at the group level have been proposed to explain the adaptiveness DOI 10.1007/s12052-008-0067-2
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How Darwinian is cultural evolution?

How Darwinian is cultural evolution?

There are two serious problems with this argument. The first is that, whereas the mechanisms of biological inheritance operate at a molecular level, the study of which was not possible at the time of Darwin, the mechanisms of cultural transmission are, to an important extent, accessible to ordinary observation. (It could hardly be otherwise, since cultural transmission itself relies in large part on ordinary individual capacities of observation.) Most of cultural propagation— learning, teaching, sharing of attitudes and values, and so on—takes place through the production and perception of per- ceptible stimuli; in other words, through the ordinary channels of information transmission, and in particular through imita- tion and communication, two types of mechanisms of which every ordinary person has a working knowledge. Moreover, imitation, communication and also memory, without which cultural information would not survive to propagate, have been studied in depth by neuroscientists, psychologists, lin- guists, anthropologists and sociologists. So our knowledge of these mechanisms starts with common sense but goes to some serious scientific depth. Scientific studies have also shown that there are unconscious forms of imitation in human and other animals that play an important role in coordi- nation, in social bonding and in the propagation of some cultural traits, such as linguistic accent and culture-specific bodily postures [21]. All this makes it possible to state with con- fidence that cultural propagation operates not through one, but through many basic mechanisms of cognition (in particular memory) and transmission (in particular various forms of imi- tation, communication and teaching). Indeed, the acquisition of cultural items may be one of the proper functions of some of these mechanisms [22].
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Biological and Cultural Factors in Human Evolution

Biological and Cultural Factors in Human Evolution

Remodeling face and Teeth: When an infant is born, it passes out of the mother’s womb through the birth canal through the vagina and into the realities of social life. The birth canal is surrounded by skeletal bones that forms lower front of the mothers pelvis. This bone sets the limit on the size that a new born infant can be at the moment of its birth; if it (or any part of it ) is too large it will get stuck, with the result that both infant and the mother are quite likely to die – which means they will not contribute their genes to the ongoing evolutionary process.
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Cultural group selection and holobiont evolution – a comparison of structures of evolution

Cultural group selection and holobiont evolution – a comparison of structures of evolution

Cheaters The central issue in understanding the evolution of sociality is the problem of free-riders or cheaters. Free-riders enjoy the benefits of the social behavior of others but do not contribute in return. If social behavior is altruistic in the sense of reducing the fitness of the individual and increasing the fitness of others, non-altruistic behavior, or free-riding, will drive out altruistic behavior. A significant literature deals with how biological altruism may nonetheless evolve, keeping free-riders at bay. Evolution of new levels of individuality is typically taken to imply a suppression or regulation of the independent evolutionary destiny of previously independent constituents, be they genes, independent cells, or non-social organisms, in favor of the new collective individual, be it a
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A phylogenetic approach to cultural evolution

A phylogenetic approach to cultural evolution

experimentation are limited, but also because humans show such a remarkable range of cross-cultural variation. Cultures as species We define culture broadly, as behavioural traditions that are transmitted by social learning. At the population level, humans structure themselves into cultures or ethno- linguistic groups, which we define here as a group of people who speak the same language. Many parallels have been drawn between cultural and biological evolution, both at the level of parallels between genes and cultural traits (or variants), and at the level of species and cultures [5]. Culture evolves in the sense that occasional errors arise in cultural transmission (equivalent to mutations in biological evolution), leading to change through time [6,7]. For the purposes of phylogenetic analysis, languages and cultures are treated as being analogous to species (Table 1), although there has been a vigorous debate about how far we can treat cultures as discrete, bounded units, similar to species [8]. Empirical studies of how far individual cultural variants are transmitted within and between ethno-linguistic groups suggest that a large proportion of cultural transmission occurs within groups, from parents to children, and from mother cultures to
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Early evolution of evolutionary thinking: teaching biological evolution in elementary schools

Early evolution of evolutionary thinking: teaching biological evolution in elementary schools

less frequently mentioned (such as voice tone or the abil- ity for tongue rolling). We then discussed these features’ lists with each class, exploring the concepts of biological versus non-biological and inherited versus non-inherited variability. After excluding from the list all non-biological and/or non-inherited examples (such as having a scar), we chose among the listed traits one with an obvious continuous distribution (height or skin or hair colors, for example) and two or more with a more discrete distribution (for example, the presence/absence of chin and cheeks dimples or the ability to roll the tongue). For the traits with a discrete distribution, we tried to choose them so that students could be grouped differently according to the two traits. We then asked students to measure these traits in the class using the appropriate tools, to represent the observed variability and to group themselves according to these traits. During this process we asked students how many different groups they could form and what were the criteria used for the inclusion of students in each group. We also explored the concepts of continuous and discrete variability and its implications to classification. Finally,
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The Impact of Human Activities on Biological Evolution: A Topic of Consideration for Evolution Educators

The Impact of Human Activities on Biological Evolution: A Topic of Consideration for Evolution Educators

Examples of activity-driven questions from WWF (WWF 2008; WWF 2010) and MEA (MEA 2005; MEA 2005a) reports may include but are not limited to: When humans modify, fragment, or destroy habitats, how does this affect gene flow and genetic drift of a species? What is the relationship between human overexploitation of a species, its evolutionary fitness, and its gene pool variabil- ity? What does human-induced extinction do to a species’ evolutionary history? How does anthropogenic pollution impact biological evolution? What role do human-induced invasive genes play within evolution? How do human- induced invasive species impact coevolution? Further free online anthropogenic resources are listed in the bibliogra- phy. These resources have the potential for the development of many question-driven activities that address the current impact human activities are having on biological evolution. Inquiry-learning pedagogy (e.g., scientific inquiry [NRC 1996]; problem-based learning; 5E learning cycle, and instructional model [Bybee 1997]) that is integrated with technology (e.g., TOXMAP and Google Earth) should be used to allow students to fully investigate these evolution questions and also to fully understand the complexity of the environmental issues and problems humanity currently faces and will face in the next 50 to 100 years. When possible, field trips should also be taken to local sites that have been impacted by human activities. Students can collect data assessing the level of anthropogenic change and discuss the impact that these human activities may have or have had on local species evolution and the ecosystem in general. Anthropogenic field trips bring a sense of authenticity to the educational experience by allowing students to experience first-hand the environmental degradation occurring where they live. These experiences can then be brought back to the classroom for further in-depth discussion.
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Social change or social evolution? Arguments for and against social progress in the sociological theory of evolution

Social change or social evolution? Arguments for and against social progress in the sociological theory of evolution

The comparative method helps to explain social change Critics of evolutionary theory argue that the comparative method leads to circular reasoning and cannot prove the existence of social progress. However, in the use of the comparative method circular reasoning may be avoided. The comparative method can mediate between the general and specific theory of evolution. On the basis of a general theory of evolution the comparative method can be embedded in the distinction of traditional versus modern society. General theory provides those criteria that lead to the construction of the models of these two (traditional versus modern) societies. Then the comparative method helps to describe existing historical societies in relationship to these models. This way the comparative method also helps to raise questions about the specific historical trajectories of particular societies. In doing all this the comparative method does not offer a causal explanation and empirical confirmation of the general theory, but rather applies it to the analysis of different and particular societies. Consequently, the comparative method is useful for understanding the processes of specific evolution and for assessing and evaluating empirical material about the evolutionary capabilities and performance of different societies and also their historical emergence. There is no need to reject the comparative method (Sanderson 1990: 212).
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University faculty and their knowledge & acceptance of biological evolution

University faculty and their knowledge & acceptance of biological evolution

at this study site have a lower rate of holding creationist views than groups in these prior studies. They also ex- hibit higher levels of knowledge and acceptance of bio- logical evolution compared to previously studied groups (Rutledge and Sadler, 2007; Moore et al., 2009; Moore and Cotner, 2009a; Moore and Cotner, 2009b). Given the higher average level of education earned by the par- ticipants in this study compared to previous studies, this result is not unexpected. Noteworthy, however, is that the percentage of faculty in our sample who claim a per- sonal belief in god is roughly twice that of the members of the National Academy of Sciences. This could be due to any number of factors, at personal, local, state, national, and/or international levels. For example, perhaps faculty who have creationist theistic positions see the state where this study site is located (Midwestern United States) as more friendly place to work than other less religious areas. Alternatively, faculty at this Midwest university may very well be more likely to have been raised in or near the Midwest, a region that opinion polls show have a higher professed belief in God than many other regions of the U.S. Finally, the qualitative results from the participant text responses provide some valuable insight into the under- lying thinking of university faculty. While some univer- sity faculty have serious misconceptions about biological evolution, not every response fell on the negative side of the ledger. Some participants demonstrated an extremely robust knowledge of not only biological evolution, but the issues surrounding BEE as well.
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An evolutionary developmental approach to cultural evolution

An evolutionary developmental approach to cultural evolution

). These arguments apply even more strongly for culture, where social structure, institutions, artifacts, and environ- mental modifications constitute an adapted system that is also the engine of its own adaptation. As evolution unfolds, this apparatus is all the time present: it catalyzes, scaffolds, and gets modified by evolutionary change both internally and ex- ternally. Ideas, cultural representations, memes, routines, or whatever we want to call them here, play a role roughly anal- ogous to genes (although not quite; see, e.g., Andersson 2008, 2011b), which is to say that they are necessary but only in a wider developmental context. So just like proponents of evo- lutionary developmental theories argue that we must under- stand ontogeny and the interplay between organisms and their environment in order to understand organic evolution, we argue that we must understand the processes and structures of culture as well as how they interact with noncultural pro- cesses in order to understand the evolution of culture.
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Origin and Evolution of Cultural Level Organization

Origin and Evolution of Cultural Level Organization

• The aggregate product leads to a change in operant contingencies for drivers and pedestrians. • The change in operant contingencies results in lower frequency of pedestrian casualtie[r]

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Cultural evolution of material knot diversity

Cultural evolution of material knot diversity

As expected, these transitions show that imperfection in social learning (cross- ings neither replicated all correctly nor all incorrectly, 0 < s < 1) increases the connectedness between knots and links. Without this imperfection in social learn- ing all knots and links are either replicated as themselves (when a = 0) or the transition between the different forms of knots and links collapses into a linear se- quence when dictated solely by asocial learning (when 0 < a ≤ 1). It is important to note that when crossings are either all replicated correctly or all incorrectly (s = 0 or s = 1) knots and links are replicated as themselves. This does not occur when imperfection in social learning occurs (0 < s < 1) so perfect social learning results in the persistence of variants. However, when asocial learning always occurs (a = 1) some knots and links are replicated as themselves due to the maximum crossing number of eight assumed in this model, instead of creating a new variant of higher crossing number. This is a direct result of this assumption to ensure a closed system and although it may be the case that asocial learning is reduced for higher crossing knots and links causing replication of the current knot or link type, the replication seen here is a result of the model set up and should not be taken as an indication of the effect of real world asocial learning.
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MALIGNANT CULTURAL DEPRIVATION—ITS EVOLUTION

MALIGNANT CULTURAL DEPRIVATION—ITS EVOLUTION

CULTURAL DEPRIVATION, NEGRO CULTURE, BLACK AMERICANS.. To comprehend a landscape one must look at it from varied angles#{176}.[r]

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Language Neuromechanics: The Human Biological Language Evolution

Language Neuromechanics: The Human Biological Language Evolution

The paper proposes that the understanding of human language evolution re- quires the comprehensive understanding of language in terms of language types, formations, and learnings and the comprehensive understanding of human biological evolution in terms of the emergences of various hominin species with various language capacities. This paper proposes language neu- romechanics and the human biological-language evolution. Language is de- rived from bodily movement. Language neuromechanics combines neuros- cience to study language brain and biomechanics to study language move- ment. Language neuromechanics consists of language type, language forma- tion, and language learning. Language types for advanced animals include gestural language verse vocal language, instinctive language verse controllable language, and symbolic language verse iconic language. Language formation involves the developments of the different types of languages from different bodily movements phylogenetically and ontogenetically. Language learning involves the learning of controllable language to adapt to communicative en- vironment through language brain regions and language genes. This paper proposes a gradual and step-by-step human language evolution from the language of great apes to the human language through the human biological evolution which chronologically and geographically consists of early homi- nins, early Homos, middle Homos, and late Homos with different language capacities. For hominins, vocal language and gestural language were evolved together. In conclusion, combining neuroscience and biomechanics, language neuromechanics provides the comprehensive understanding of language. The combination of language neuromechanics and the human biological-language evolution provides the clear evolutionary path from great apes’ articulate gestural language without articulate speech to human articulate gestural lan- guage and articulate speech.
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Developments in Psychotraumatology: A Conceptual, Biological, and Cultural Update

Developments in Psychotraumatology: A Conceptual, Biological, and Cultural Update

Developments in Psychotraumatology: A Conceptual, Biological, and Cultural Update Maercker, Andreas ; Augsburger, Mareike Abstract: This report discusses recent developments of psychotraumatology mainly related to the recently published ICD-11, but also from a societal point of view.The selected aspects of the development of this field will be presented as a scoping review.In the first section, the new concept of disorders specifically associated with stress and its relevant diagnostic groups (posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], complex PTSD, prolonged grief disorder, and adjustment disorder) are presented, with an emphasis on PTSD. The second section embeds these diagnostic concepts within a broader context. In particular, the con- cept of psychotraumatology is applied to the impact of adverse childhood experiences. More specifically, recent scientific developments are discussed with respect to biological stress research. In a third section, a global perspective is applied that reflects psychotraumatology as embedded in culturally-specific concepts. Lastly, societal developments are taken into consideration. This section focusses on recent processes of vic- tim acknowledgement and compensation taking place in Europe and beyond. Examples are provided for how traumatic stress is perceived and processed in society. Concepts such as continuous stress and histori- cal trauma are also discussed.Demands and opportunities of basic research and psychological interventions with a global focus are outlined.<jats:list><jats:list-item>Psychotraumatology is an expanding field in- cluding both basic research and intervention-related research.</jats:list-item><jats:list-item>Starting points of this new research area are not only potential traumatic events but also adverse childhood experiences.</jats:list-item><jats:list-item>In a globalized world, cultural and societal factors play an increasingly important role in psychotraumatology.</jats:list-item></jats:list>Psychotraumatology is an expanding field including both basic research and intervention-related research.Starting points of this new research area are not only potential traumatic events but also adverse childhood experiences.In a globalized world, cultural and societal factors play an increasingly important role in psychotraumatology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.32872/cpe.v1i1.30294
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Cultural evolution: a review of theory, findings and controversies

Cultural evolution: a review of theory, findings and controversies

During the mid-twentieth century a few isolated scholars maintained that a properly Darwinian theory of cultural evolution was viable, such as the psychologist Donald Campbell (Campbell 1965). Richard Dawkins provoked interest but little actual empirical research with his notion of the ‘meme’ in the final chapter of The Selfish Gene (Dawkins 1976), intended to illustrate the substrate-neutrality of his replicator-based theory of evolution. However, just as evolutionary theory in the biological sciences only really became useful once it had been formalised mathematically by population geneticists such as Fisher, Haldane and Wright in the early 1900s, cultural evolution only really took off once two pairs of scholars devised quantitative mathematical models of cultural evolution in two books in the 1980s: one by Marc Feldman and Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza (Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman 1981) and the other by Robert Boyd and Peter Richerson (Boyd and Richerson 1985). These books were also notable in taking seriously the differences between biological and cultural evolution, rather than simply importing biological analogies to the cultural case, as perhaps both Campbell and Dawkins were guilty of doing. The following section outlines the theoretical basis of cultural evolution as presented in these books, and which has inspired much subsequent research.
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The Evolution of Social Constructs

The Evolution of Social Constructs

to a bourgeois accumulating capital and saving it for future investment or the working class needing a wage (Elias 2006). The means of maintaining one’s status, their survivability, was different but the objective the same (Elias 2006). For the court noble, their rationality and the necessity of status-consumption to maintain or improve their social position, was critical in gaining status over their rivals. The opinion of the court peoples was a, “formative and controlling instrument” which, “no member could escape…without putting at risk [their] membership, [their] identity as part of an elite, which was central to [their] pride and honour” (Elias 2006:104). Families were constantly rising and falling in this highly competitive figuration. To ensure one’s position and that over others, opinion was the currency of the highest importance, thus status- consumption was essential in maintaining a well- positioned opinion in the struggle for status. In turn, this forced a closer dependency on the king, for being in close proximity with, and in the good graces of, the king was the most advantageous and prestigious social position. It granted the highest in purchasing power and reputation Acting in accordance with the practices of the court was essential to achieving this.
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THE EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES

THE EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES

Finally, we observed benefits from adoption. The most widespread was greater access to knowledge and to experts within and outside the enterprise. More recently, companies have achieved cost reductions—for example, through more efficient internal communications and the use of video and knowledge-sharing platforms to engage with customers remotely rather than traveling to see them. The multiplication of knowledge channels drove process improvements such as faster time to market and improved product and service quality. Three stages of enterprise usage As these technology choices and capabilities evolved, we found that they defined three periods of usage. This evolution is dynamic, with some companies at the leading edge and others catching up (Exhibit 2). Tryouts
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Paleontology and Cornets: Thoughts on Material Cultural Evolution

Paleontology and Cornets: Thoughts on Material Cultural Evolution

The reason for this disconnect lies, in greatest part, in the differences in the modes of storage and transmission of the particular kinds of information in the organic vs. the material cultural realm. Genes, for the most part, are passed on directly to offspring—in both asexual and sexual modes of reproduc- tion. Hybridization among closely related species is not unknown in some animals (lions and tigers, for example), several groups of plants (e.g., the rose family) and many different microbial taxa—where genetic information can be exchanged between very distantly related groups. But for the most part, at least among multicellular organisms, information is transmitted mostly “vertically,” i.e., from parents to offspring. In contrast, in cultural systems, we learn from our parents—of course—but also from our teachers, friends, and the ambient and increasingly global media. And parents have been known to learn a thing or two from their children. Information moves between members of different generations within families—but also is shared with an ever-widening circle of relatives, friends — up to and including potentially anyone else in the world.
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The evolution of cultural and economic activities in the DKMT Euroregion

The evolution of cultural and economic activities in the DKMT Euroregion

Today over seventy cross-border regions are known in Europe, in which 38 states participate. The conception which originated in 1952 when the first conventions were signed in the Western Europe, gained greater popularity after the 1980 Madrid Cross-Border Cooperation Convention - involving communities or local authorities – was signed by 19 states of the Europe Council (Cernicova-Buca, 1999, p. 301). If the first Euroregion (EUROREGIO) was created in 1959, in the eighties almost seventy such entities already existed. The European Union policy, through the acquis communautaire, encouraged crossborder cooperation 1 . The evolution of the European model concerning the value of the regions was marked by the Maastricht Treaty (1992), after a Committee of the Regions has been founded. This treaty gives the hope that the regional dimension will play a very important role in the process of European integration, taking over at a qualified level specific to the sub-state level, those issues that do not necessarily belong to this area of which the states are preoccupied with. Nowadays there are Euroregions created both between member states of the EU, between members and non-members of the EU and between non-members of the EU (Petsinis, 2004, p. 2).
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