Collins Conference Room
Working Group

This event is by invitation only.

Abstract: Cumulative cultural evolution refers to the increasing complexity of human culture over the evolutionary history of our species. It is a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary topic without a consistent definition. In this working group, we will draw on evolutionary theory, social learning theory, and computational cognitive science to explore and consolidate the various descriptions of cumulative culture into either 1) a general working definition or 2) a rubric for distinguishing between distinct types of cumulative culture. We will focus on operationalizing any new definitions as novel experimental and modeling paradigms for understanding cumulative cultural evolution. The broadest goal of this meeting is to provide an open space exchanging ideas about current conceptual and methodological issues on the topic of cumulative cultural evolution. We expect to touch on topics such as innovation, mechanisms of cultural inheritance, ratchet effects, collaborative search strategies, metacognition, and the complexity of material culture. Possible outcomes are an outline for a review of the field, a position paper on new approaches to researching cumulative cultural evolution, and/or novel experimental designs for addressing new questions about cumulative culture.


Research Collaboration
SFI Host: 
Vanessa Ferdinand

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