Cultural group selection follows Darwin's classic syllogism for the operation of selection

Peter Richerson, Ryan Baldini, Adrian V. Bell, Kathryn Demps, Karl Frost, Vicken Hillis, Sarah Mathew, Emily K. Newton, Nicole Naar, Lesley Newson, Cody Ross, Paul E. Smaldino, Timothy M. Waring, Matthew Zefferman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The main objective of our target article was to sketch the empirical case for the importance of selection at the level of groups on cultural variation. Such variation is massive in humans but modest or absent in other species. Group selection processes acting on this variation is a framework for developing explanations of the unusual level of cooperation between non-relatives found in our species. Our case for cultural group selection (CGS) followed Darwin's classic syllogism regarding natural selection: If variation exists at the level of groups if this variation is heritable and if it plays a role in the success or failure of competing groups then selection will operate at the level of groups. We outlined the relevant domains where such evidence can be sought and characterized the main conclusions of work in those domains. Most commentators agree that CGS plays some role in human evolution although some were considerably more skeptical. Some contributed additional empirical cases. Some raised issues of the scope of CGS explanations versus competing ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e58
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Volume39
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

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Group Processes
Genetic Selection
Group
Cultural Groups
Group Selection
role play
evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Richerson, P., Baldini, R., Bell, A. V., Demps, K., Frost, K., Hillis, V., ... Zefferman, M. (2016). Cultural group selection follows Darwin's classic syllogism for the operation of selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 39, e58. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X15000606

Cultural group selection follows Darwin's classic syllogism for the operation of selection. / Richerson, Peter; Baldini, Ryan; Bell, Adrian V.; Demps, Kathryn; Frost, Karl; Hillis, Vicken; Mathew, Sarah; Newton, Emily K.; Naar, Nicole; Newson, Lesley; Ross, Cody; Smaldino, Paul E.; Waring, Timothy M.; Zefferman, Matthew.

In: Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Vol. 39, 2016, p. e58.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Richerson, P, Baldini, R, Bell, AV, Demps, K, Frost, K, Hillis, V, Mathew, S, Newton, EK, Naar, N, Newson, L, Ross, C, Smaldino, PE, Waring, TM & Zefferman, M 2016, 'Cultural group selection follows Darwin's classic syllogism for the operation of selection', Behavioral and Brain Sciences, vol. 39, pp. e58. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X15000606
Richerson, Peter ; Baldini, Ryan ; Bell, Adrian V. ; Demps, Kathryn ; Frost, Karl ; Hillis, Vicken ; Mathew, Sarah ; Newton, Emily K. ; Naar, Nicole ; Newson, Lesley ; Ross, Cody ; Smaldino, Paul E. ; Waring, Timothy M. ; Zefferman, Matthew. / Cultural group selection follows Darwin's classic syllogism for the operation of selection. In: Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 2016 ; Vol. 39. pp. e58.
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