Cognitive Science 39 (1):171-183 (2015)

Through cultural transmission, repeated learning by new individuals transforms cultural information, which tends to become increasingly compressible . Existing diffusion chain studies include in their design two processes that could be responsible for this tendency: learning and reproducing . This paper manipulates the presence of learning in a simple iterated drawing design experiment. We find that learning seems to be the causal factor behind the increase in compressibility observed in the transmitted information, while reproducing is a source of random heritable innovations. Only a theory invoking these two aspects of cultural learning will be able to explain human culture's fundamental balance between stability and innovation
Keywords Conventionality  Imitation  Iterated learning  Compression  Cultural transmission
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/cogs.12144
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,274
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

Simplicity: A Unifying Principle in Cognitive Science?Nick Chater & Paul Vitányi - 2003 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):19-22.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Cultural Learning.Michael Tomasello, Ann Cale Kruger & Hilary Horn Ratner - 1993 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (3):495-511.
Is Culture Inherited Through Social Learning?Kenneth Reisman - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (3):300-306.
The Question of Animal Culture.Bennett G. Galef - 1992 - Human Nature 3 (2):157-178.
Towards a Unified Science of Cultural Evolution.Alex Mesoudi, Andrew Whiten & Kevin N. Laland - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):329-347.


Added to PP index

Total views
20 ( #536,499 of 2,448,687 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #447,803 of 2,448,687 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes