The learning and transmission of hierarchical cultural recipes

Biological Theory 3 (1):63-72 (2008)
Abstract
Archaeologists have proposed that behavioral knowledge of a tool can be conceptualized as a “recipe”—a unit of cultural transmission that combines the preparation of raw materials, construction, and use of the tool, and contingency plans for repair and maintenance. This parallels theories in cognitive psychology that behavioral knowledge is hierarchically structured—sequences of actions are divided into higher level, partially independent subunits. Here we use an agent-based simulation model to explore the costs and benefits of hierarchical learning relative to holistic learning, where entire behavioral sequences are learned in an all-or-nothing fashion, and diffusionist learning, where actions are completely independent. Hierarchical learning is favored under the reasonable assumptions that learning is associated with some degree of both error and cost, and that behavior can be grouped into subunits that repeat in one or more tool recipes. These general predictions can be tested in the archaeological and ethnographic record. Recent advances in evolutionary developmental biology have revealed a number of parallels between the hierarchically structured, recipe-like organization of behavioral knowledge that we examine here and the manner in which biological organisms develop
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1162/biot.2008.3.1.63
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,553
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Towards a Unified Science of Cultural Evolution.Alex Mesoudi, Andrew Whiten & Kevin N. Laland - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):329-347.
Perceiving, Remembering, and Communicating Structure in Events.Jeffrey M. Zacks, Barbara Tversky & Gowri Iyer - 2001 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 130 (1):29.
Learning by Imitation: A Hierarchical Approach.Richard W. Byrne & Anne E. Russon - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):667-684.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Cultural Traits and Cultural Integration.R. Lee Lyman - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):357-358.
Can Sociobiology Adapt to Cultural Selection?Sandra D. Mitchell - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:87 - 96.
Is Culture Inherited Through Social Learning?Kenneth Reisman - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (3):300-306.
Towards a Unified Science of Cultural Evolution.Alex Mesoudi, Andrew Whiten & Kevin N. Laland - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):329-347.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-08-24

Total downloads

8 ( #490,775 of 2,168,179 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #346,757 of 2,168,179 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums