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The Innate Mind Volume 2: Culture and Cognition$
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Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195310139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195310139.001.0001

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Culture, Adaptation, and Innateness

Culture, Adaptation, and Innateness

Chapter:
(p.23) 2 Culture, Adaptation, and Innateness
Source:
The Innate Mind
Author(s):

Robert Boyd (Contributor Webpage)

Peter J. Richerson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195310139.003.0002

Culture has fundamentally changed the nature of human evolution because it creates a novel evolutionary tradeoff. Social learning allows human populations to rapidly evolve accumulate cultural evolution of highly adaptive culturally transmitted behaviors. However, to get the benefits of social learning, humans have to be credulous, for the most part accepting the ways that they observe in their society as sensible and proper; such credulity opens up human minds to the spread of maladaptive beliefs. These costs can be reduced by tinkering with our evolved psychology, but they cannot be eliminated without losing the adaptive benefits of cumulative cultural evolution. The classic nature-nurture controversy neglects the processes of gene-culture coevolution. An evolutionary psychology lacking an account of this fundamental tradeoff cannot successfully explain human evolution.

Keywords:   cultural evolution, gene-culture coevolution, nature-nurture controversy, evolutionary psychology, human evolution

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