Evolutionary psychologists have at least three views on the evolution of culture:
- Cultural evolution and biological evolution are analogous and that culture should be studied using Darwinian methods (Blackmore 1999; Cullen 2000; Dawkins 1976) including memetics (suggesting that ideas propagate like a virus). However, it is widely accepted that as an approach, despite its prevalence in popular culture, memetics provides only a limited insight into the area of culture under review.
- Biologically evolved mental mechanisms determine cultural evolution and processing (Tooby and Cosmides, 1992). However, criticism has been raised regarding the level of predictive accuracy this theory has and that it provides no new insight.
- The dual-inheritance theory speculates that culture is inherited via both genes and culture. (Boyd and Richerson 1985). They agree with the view widely held by other evolutionary psychologists, that humans have innate, hard-wired, learning mechanisms, including the biases that guide cultural transmission, and that culture is an adaption.
Blackmore, S. 1999. The meme machine. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
Block, A. D., & Dewitte, S. (2008). Darwinism and the Cultural Evolution of Sports. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine,52(1), 1-16. doi:10.1353/pbm.0.0063
Boyd, R., and P. J. Richerson. 1985. Culture and the evolutionary process. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
Cullen, B. 2000. Contagious ideas: On evolution, culture, archaeology and cultural virus theory. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Dawkins, R. 1976. The selfish gene. New York and Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
Tooby, J., and L. Cosmides. 1992.The psychological foundations of culture. In The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture, ed. J. H. Barkow, L. Cosmides, and J. Tooby, 19–136. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.