Cultural evolution and the shaping of cultural diversity

Abstract
This chapter focuses on the way that cultures change and how cultural diversity is created, maintained and lost. Human culture is the inevitable result of the way our species acquires its behavior. We are extremely social animals and an overwhelming proportion of our behavior is socially learned. The behavior of other animals is largely a product of innate evolved determinants of behavior combined with individual learning. They make quite modest use of social learning while we acquire a massive cultural repertoire from the people we associate with (Richerson & Boyd, 2005: Chapter 2). Expertise in exploiting our environment, values about what matters in life and even feelings about whom to trust and whom to hate are mostly “absorbed” from those around us.
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