The Effects Of Cumulative Cultural Evolution On The Learning

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Effects of Cumulative Cultural Evolution in Emulation Learning In the context of evolution, culture is “a shared system of socially transmitted behaviour that describes, defines, and guides people’s ways of life, communicated from one generation” (Matsumoto, 2006, p. 220). Evolution has seen humans attaining unique behavioural adaptations, that one cannot acquire in a single lifetime, cumulate over generations (Henrich & McElreath, 2003) and the accumulation of these successive cultural adaptations across generations is cumulative cultural evolution (Boyd & Richerdson, 1996). Laboratory studies on cultural evolution have used ‘microsocieties’ to simulate different generations in a population. In such studies, participants are replaced with a naïve participant within their groups to symbolize the end of a generation and this continues for a few generations (Baum, Richerson, Efferson, & Paciotti, 2004). Many cultural artefacts and practices share an essential characteristic of being accumulative (Tomasello, Krugera, & Ratner, 1993). Cumulative cultural evolution can occur when a generation makes adaptations to a behavior learnt from the previous generation. The following generation, too, adapts the behavior, and this continues across generations. This effect is believed to be attributable to processes of social learning (Tennie, Call, & Tomasello, 2009). Social learning theory proposes that individuals can learn in a social context, for example, by observing others’
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