Cultural Evolution Manuscripts & Publications Available for Download 

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Ethnic interactions: Analysis of a sample of boundaries, with Lore Ruttan, Margaret Franzen, and Robert Bettinger.

Is science postmodern: Cultural evolution as an example. With Karl Frost. Submitted to Naturalistic Approaches to Culture, Csaba Pléh, editor.

Explaining variation in acceptance of homosexuality: Testing a cultural evolutionary hypothesis. With Lesley Newson. Under review.

New frontiers in the study of cultural and genetic evolution. With Cody T. Ross. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 29: 103-109. 2014.

Cultural transmission theory and hunter-gatherer archaeology. With Jelmer Eerkens and Robert L. Bettinger. In press in Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter Gatherers, Eds. V. Cummings, P. Jordan and M. Zvelebil.

Religion: the dynamics of cultural adaptations. With Lesley Newson. In Cognitive Approaches to the Evolution of Religion, eds. F. Watts and L. Turner. In press.

Group Selection. With Kathryn Demps. In Discoveries in Modern Science: Exploration, Invention, Technology. Gale | Cengage Learning.

Human cumulative cultural evolution as a form of distributed computation. With Paul Smaldino. In Handbook of Human Computation, ed. Pietro Michelucci. In press.

A corporation's culture as an impetus for spinoffs and a driving force of industry evolution. With Christian Cordes and Georg Schwesinger. Journal of Evolutionary Economics 24: 689-712. 2014.

Human Nature. Edge essay in response to the 2014 Question What Scientific Idea Is Ready for Retirement? 2014.

Mechanisms of cultural change and transitions to sustainability, with Cody T. Ross and Deborah S. Rogers. In Bill Freeman (ed.) Handbook of Global Environmental Change, Springer, DOI 10.1007/s10818-013-9166-4. 2014.

Chapters in: Cultural Evolution: Society Technology, Language and Religion, Peter J, Richerson and Morten Christiansen Editors. Strüngmann Forum Reports, Vol 12, J. Lupp Series Editor. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-01975-0. 2013.

    Introduction, with Morten Christiansen, Chapter 1. pp. 1-21.

    Cultural evolution of the structure of human groups, with Fiona Jordan et al., Chapter 6, pp. 87-116.

    The cultural evolution of technology: Facts and theories, with Robert Boyd and Joseph Henrich, Chapter 8, pp. 119-142.

    The cultural evolution of religion, with Joseph Bulbulia et al., Chapter 20, pp. 382-404.

Individual consistency and flexibility in human social information use. With Ulf Toelch, Matthew J. Bruce, Lesley Newson, and Simon Reader. Proc. R. Soc. B 2014 281, 20132864. 2013

Group size determines cultural complexity. News and Views. Nature 503: 351-352. 2013.

Simulating the evolution of the human family: cooperative breeding increases in harsh environments. With Paul Smaldino, Lesley Newson and Jeffrey Shank. PLOS One 8 (11): e80753. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080753. 2013.

Applying evolutionary theory to human behaviour: past differences and current debates. With Gillian Brown.  Journal of Bioeconomics, DOI 10.1007/s10818-013-9166-4. 2013.

 Rethinking paleoanthropology: A world queerer than we supposed. With Robert Boyd. In Evolution of Mind, Brain and Culture. Gary Hatfield and Holly Pittman, Editors. Penn Museum International Research Conferences Series, University of Pennsylvania Press. Pp. 263-302. 2013.

Human cooperation is a complex problem with many possible solutions: Perhaps all of them are true!  Cliodynamics 4.1: 139-152. 2013.

A naturalistic theory of economic organization. With J.W. Stoelhorst. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 905: S45-S56. 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2012.12.012

The evolution of flexible parenting. With Lesley Newson. In: Evolution's Empress: Darwinian Perspectives on the Nature of Women, M.L. Fisher, J.R Garcia, and M.S. Chang, editors. Oxford University Press. pp. 151-167. 2013.

Custom Built. Review of Mark Pagel's Wired for Culture. Nature 482: 304-5. 2012.

Comment on Pinker Edge essay on the False Allure of Group Selection. edge.org/conversation/the-false-allure-of-group-selection. 2012

The origins of options. With Paul Smaldino. Frontiers in Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00050. 2012.  

Comment: The punishment that sustains cooperation is often costly and coordinated. With Samuel Bowles, Robert Boyd, and Sarah Mathew. Current Anthropology 35: 20-21. 2012.

Tribal social instincts and the cultural evolution of institutions to solve collective action problems. With Joe Henrich. Cliodynamics 3: 38–80. 2012.

Cooperation due to cultural norms, not individual reputation. With William M. Baum, Brian Paciotti, Mark Lubell, and Richard McElreath. Behavioural Processes 91: 90-93. 2012.

Cooperation, Evolution of. With Matthew R. Zimmerman and Richard McElreath. In: Sourcebook in Theoretical Ecology (Eds: Hastings, A., Gross, L.). UC Press, Berkeley (pp.155-162). 2012.

The puzzle of monogamous marriage. With Joe Henrich and Robert Boyd. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367: 657-669. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0290.  2012.

Culture does account for variation in game behavior. A comment on Lamba and Mace (2011). With Joseph Henrich et al. PNAS 109: e32-33. 2012.

A conversation about community, global governance and climate change. With Charles Wohlforth. SCOPE Vol. 1 No. 1, Winter 2011, pp. 4-12.

Not So Selfish. Review of Samuel Bowles' and Herbert Gintis' book A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution. Nature 476: 29-30. 2011.

Towards unification of the socio-ecological sciences: The value of coupled models. With Timothy M. Waring. Geografiska Annaler Series B, Human Geography 93: 301-314. 2011.

Are religious individuals more generous, trusting, and cooperative? An experimental test of the effect of religion on prosociality. With Brian Paciotti, Billy Baum, Mark Lubell, Tim Waring, Richard McElreath, Charles Efferson and Ed Edsten. Research in Economic Anthropology 31 (The Economics of Religion: Anthropological Approaches): 269-307. Emerald Publishing Limited. 2011.

Cultural evolution. In: Thus Spake Evolutionary Psychologists, Peking University Press, X.T Wang and Y. Su, editors. 2011.

The cultural niche: Why social learning is essential for human adaptation. With Robert Boyd and Joseph Henrich. PNAS, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1100290108, 2011.

Comment on Royal Society Study: People and the planet: the role of global population in sustainable development. With Lesley Newson. 2011. royalsociety.org/policy/projects/people-planet/report/

Rapid cultural adaptation can facilitate the evolution of large-scale cooperation. With Robert Boyd and Joseph Henrich. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 65: 431-444 . 2011

How does opportunistic behavior influence firm size? With Christian Cordes, Richard McElreath, and Pontus Strimling. Journal of Institutional Economics 7: 1-21. 2011

How corporate cultures coevolve with the business environment: The case of firm growth crises and industry evolution. With Christian Cordes and Georg Schwesinger. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 76: 465-480. 2010.

Why possibly language evolved, with Robert Boyd. Special Issue of Biolinguistics on Explaining the (in)variance of human language: Divergent views and converging evidence, 4: 289-306. 2010.

The Darwinian theory of human cultural evolution and gene-culture coevolution. With Robert Boyd.  Chapter 20 in Evolution Since Darwin: The First 150 Years. M.A. Bell, D.J. Futuyma, W.F. Eanes, and J.S. Levinton, (eds.) Sinauer, pp. 561-588. 2010.

How does opportunistic behavior influence firm size? An evolutionary approach to organizational behavior. With Christian Cordes, Richard McElreath, and Pontus Strimling.  Journal of Institutional Economics . doi:10.1017/S1744137410000123. 2010.

Transmission coupling mechanisms: cultural group selection. With Robert Boyd. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 265: 3787-3795. 2010

Gene-culture coevolution in the age of genomics. With Robert Boyd and Joseph Henrich. PNAS 107 (suppl. 2): 8985-8992, 2010. Supporting information online.

Culture is an active part of human biology. In Politics and Culture Special Evolutionary Issue, Joe Carroll, guest editor. 2010.

Multilevel and kin selection in a connected world. With Michael J. Wade and others. Nature: 463test, E1 (2010) | doi:10.1038/nature08809.

What was the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness really like? and Complexity and diversity. President's Corner essays in Human Behavior and Evolution Society Newsletter. 2009 and 2010.

Culture rather than genes provides greater scope for the evolution of large-scale human prosociality. With Adrian V. Bell and Richard McElreath. PNAS 106 (42): 17671-17674, 2009

Constraints on the development of agriculture. With Robert Bettinger and Robert Boyd. Current Anthropology 50: 627-631.  2009.

Cultural innovations and demographic change, with Robert Boyd and Robert L. Bettinger. Human Biology 81: 211-235, 2009.

Culture and the evolution of human cooperation. With Robert Boyd. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 364: 3281-3288, 2009.

The evolution of conformist social learning can cause population collapse in realistically variable environments. With Hal Whitehead. Evolution and Human Behavior 30: 261-273, 2009.

Why do people become modern? A darwinian mechanism, with Lesley Newson. Population and Development Review 35: 117-158, 2009.

Is religion adaptive? Yes, no, neutral, but mostly we don't know (long version). With Lesley Newson. The Believing Primate:  Scientific, Philosophical and Theological Perspectives on the Evolution of Religion, Jeffrey Schloss and Michael Murray, editors. Oxford University Press, pp. 100-117, 2009.

Voting with your feet: Payoff biased migration and the evolution of group beneficial behavior. With Robert Boyd. Journal of Theoretical Biology 257: 331-339, 2008.

Migration: An engine for social change. With Robert Boyd. Nature 456: 877, 2008.

Cultural evolution: Accomplishments and future prospects. With Robert Boyd. In Explaining Culture Scientifically, edited by Melissa Brown. University of Washington Press. pp 75-99. 2008.

Five misunderstandings about  cultural evolution, with Joseph Henrich and Robert Boyd.  Human Nature 19: 119-137. 2008

Beyond existence and aiming outside the laboratory: Estimating frequency-dependent and payoff-biased social learning strategies. With Richard McElreath, Adrian V. Bell, Charles Efferson, Mark Lubell, and Timothy Waring.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 363: 3515-3528. 2008.

Conformists and mavericks in the lab: The structure of frequency-dependent social learning. With Charles Efferson, Rafael Lalive, Richard McElreath and Mark Lubell. Evolution and Human Behavior 29 56-64. 2008.

A naturalistic approach to the firm: the role of cooperation and cultural evolution. With Christian Cordes, Richard McElreath and Pontus Strimling.  Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 68: 125-139. 2008.

Gene-culture coevolution and the evolution of social institutions. With Robert Boyd. In Better than Consciousness? Decision Making, The Human Mind, and Implications for Institutions. Edited by Christoph Engel and Wolf Singer. MIT Press. Pp. 305-323. 2008.

Individual decision making and the evolutionary roots of institutions. With Richard McElreath, Robert Boyd, Gerd Gigerenzer, Andreas Glöckner, Peter Hammerstein, Robert Kurzban, Stefan Margan, Arthur Robson, and Jeffrey R. Stevens. In Better than Consciousness? Decision Making, The Human Mind, and Implications for Institutions. Edited by Christoph Engel and Wolf Singer. MIT Press. Pp. 326-342. 2008.

Is religion adaptive? Yes, no, neutral, but mostly we don't know (short version).  With Lesley Newson. In: The Evolution of Religion: Studies, Theories, & Critiques. Edited by Joseph Bulbulia, Richard Sosis, Erica Harris, Russell Genet, and Karen Wyman. Collins Foundation Press.  Pp. 73-78. 2008.

The evolution of free enterprise values. With Robert Boyd. In Moral Markets: The Critical Role of Values in the Economy, edited by Paul Zak. Princeton University Press.  Pp. 107-141. 2008.

The transition to agriculture in northwestern China. With Robert Bettinger, Loukas Borton, Robert Boyd, Wang Hui, and Choi Won. Developments in Quaternary Sciences 9: 73-101. 2007.

Learning, productivity, and noise: an experimental study of cultural transmission on the Bolivian Altiplano. With Charles Efferson, Richard McElreath, Mark Lubell, Ed Edsten, Timothy M. Waring, Brian Paciotti, and William Baum.  Evolution and Human Behavior  28: 11-17. 2007.

Influences on communication about reproduction: The cultural evolution of low fertility. With Lesley Newson, Tom Postmes, S.E.G. Lea, Paul Webley, and Richard McElreath. Evolution and Human Behavior 28: 199-210. 2007.

Cultural evolution and the shaping of cultural diversity. With Lesley Newson and Robert Boyd. pp 454-476 in Handbook of Culture Psychology, Dov Cohen and Shinobu Kitayama, editors, New York, Guilford Press.  2007.

Cooperation and conflict, large scale human, with Francisco Gil-White. In  Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, Wiley 2007.

A prolegomenon to nonlinear empiricism in the human behavioral sciences. With Charles Efferson. Philosophy and Biology 22: 1-33. 2006.

Culture and the evolution of the human social instincts. With Robert Boyd. In: Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition, and Interaction. Edited by N.J. Enfield and Stephen C. Levinson. Berg. Pp. 453-477. 2006.

Why managers need an evolutionary theory of organizations. With Dwight Collins and Russell Genet.  Strategic Organization 4(2) 201-211. 2006.

Cultural evolutionary theory: A synthetic theory for fragmented disciplines. With Brian Paciotti and Robert Boyd. In  Bridging Social Psychology: The Benefits of Transdisciplinary Approaches, Paul Van Lange, Editor. Pp 365-70. 2006.

Culture, adaptation, and innateness, with Robert Boyd. Pp23-38 in The Innate Mind: Volume 2 Culture and Cognition, P. Carruthers, S. Stich, & S. Laurence, eds., Oxford, Oxford University Press.  2006.

Models and antimodels: The structure of pay-off dependent social learning.  With Charles Efferson, Rafael Lalive, Richard McElreath and Mark Lubell.  Zurich IEER Working Paper no. 290, 2006.

Evolution on a restless planet: Were environmental variability and environmental change major drivers of human evolution? With Robert L. Bettinger and Robert Boyd.  Handbook of Evolution Vol. 2 edited by Franz M. Wuketits and Francisco J. Ayala, Pp 223-242. 2005.

Applying formal models to the laboratory study of social learning: The impact of task difficulty and environmental fluctuation. With Richard McElreath, Mark Lubell, Timothy M. Waring, William Baum, Edward Edsten, and Charles Efferson, and Brian Paciotti. Evolution and Human Behavior 26: 483-508. 2005.

Solving the puzzle of human cooperation, with Robert Boyd. In Evolution and Culture, edited by S. Levinson and P. Jaisson. MIT Press, Cambridge MA, pp. 105-132. 2005.

Darwinian evolutionary ethics: Between patriotism and sympathy. With Robert Boyd. In Evolution and Ethics: Human Morality in Biological and Religious Perspective, Philip Clayton and Jeffrey Schloss, editors, Pp. 50-77, 2004.

Cultural Evolution in Laboratory Micro-Societies Including Traditions of Rule-Giving and Rule-Following with William M. Baum, Charles M. Efferson , and Brian M. Paciotti.  Evolution and Human Behavior 25: 305-326. 2004.

Cultural Evolution of Human Cooperation, with Robert Boyd and Joe Henrich. In The Genetic and Cultural Evolution of Cooperation, Edited by Peter Hammerstein, MIT Press. Pp. 357-388. 2003.

The Evolution of Altruistic Punishment, with Robert Boyd, Herbert Gintis and Samuel Bowles. 2003. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 100: 3531–3535.   

Shared Norms Can Lead to the Evolution of Ethnic Markers, with Richard McElreath and Robert Boyd. 2003, Current Anthropology 44: 122–130.   Electronic Enhancements.

Cultural Selection and Genetic Diversity in Humans, with Hal Whitehead and Robert Boyd. Selection 3:115-125,  2002.

Group Beneficial Norms Can Spread Rapidly In a Structured Population, with Robert Boyd. 2002,  Journal of Theoretical Biology 215: 287–296

An Evolutionary Theory of Commons Management, with Robert Boyd and Brian Paciotti. 2002. In Elinor Ostrom, Thomas Dietz, Nives Dolsak, Paul C. Stern, Susan Stonich, and Elke U. Weber (eds.) The Drama of the Commons. National Academy Press. Pp. 403-442.

Meme Theory Oversimplifies Cultural Change. With Robert Boyd. Scientific American, October 2002, Pp. 54-55.

Built For Speed, Not for Comfort: Darwinian Theory and Human Culture, with Robert Boyd. 2001. In History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 23: 423-463.

The Evolution of Subjective Commitment to Groups: A Tribal Instincts Hypothesis, with Robert Boyd. 2001. In Randolph M. Nesse (ed.) The Evolution of Commitment. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Pp. 186-220.

Was Agriculture Impossible During the Pleistocene But Mandatory During the Holocene? A Climate Change Hypothesis, with Robert Boyd and Robert L. Bettinger. 2001.  American Antiquity 66: 387-411.

Culture Is Part of Human Biology: Why the Superorganic Concept Serves the Human Sciences Badly, with Robert Boyd. In Science Studies: Probing the Dynamics of Scientific Knowledge, edited by S. Maasen and M. Winterhager, transcript Verlag, 2001. Also, to be published in Probing Human Origins, edited by Morris Goodman and Anne Simon Moffat, The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Cambridge, MA.  

Institutional Evolution in the Holocene: The Rise of Complex Societies, with Robert Boyd. In The Origin of Human Social Institutions, pp. 197-204, 2001, W.G. Runciman, editor. Proceedings of the British Academy 110.

Norms and Bounded Rationality, with Robert Boyd. In: The Adaptive Tool Box, G. Gigerenzer and R. Selten, eds. pp 281–296, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 2001.

Memes: Universal Acid or Better Mouse Trap, with Robert Boyd.  In: Darwinizing Culture: The Status of Memetics as a Science. R. Aunger ed. pp.143–162, Oxford University Press, Oxford. 2000. 

The Pleistocene and the Origins of Human Culture: Built for Speed,   with Robert Boyd. In Perspectives in Ethology, Vol. 13:1-45, 2000, Francois Tonneau and Nicholas Thompson, editors.

Climate, Culture, and the Evolution of Cognition, with Robert Boyd. In C.M. Heyes and L. Huber, Editors, The Evolution of Cognition, MIT Press, 2000.

Evolution: The Darwinian Theory of Social Change: An Homage to Donald T. Campbell, with Robert Boyd.  In: Paradigms of Social Change, pp. 257-282, 2000, Waltrud Schelkle, Wolf-Hagen Krauth, Martin Kohli, and Georg Elwer (eds.), Frankfurt: Campus Verlag.

Constraints on Social Transmission of Food Selection by Roof Rats, Rattus rattus, With Lien-Siang Chou and Rex E. Marsh.  Acta Zoologica Taiwanica, 2000, 11: 95-109.

Complex Societies: The Evolutionary Origins of a Crude Superorganism, with Robert Boyd.  Human Nature, 1999, 10: 253-289.

 The Evolution of Human Ultra-sociality, with Robert Boyd.  I.  Eibl-Eibesfeldt and F. K. Salter (eds.), Indoctrinability, Ideology and Warfare. New York: Berghahn Books. Pp. 71-96, 1998.

Homage to Malthus, Ricardo, and Boserup: Toward a General Theory of Population, Economic Growth, Environmental Deterioration, Wealth and Poverty. With Robert Boyd. Human Ecology Review 4: 85-90, 1998.

Are Cultural Phylogenies Possible? With R. Boyd, M. Borgerhoff Mulder and W.H. Durham. In: P. Weingart, P.J. Richerson, S.D.Mitchell, and S. Maasen (eds.), Human by Nature, Between Biology and the Social Sciences,  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah, NJ, 1997. Pp. 355–386.

Why Culture is Common but Cultural Evolution is Rare, with Robert Boyd. Proceedings of the British Academy, 88: 73–93, 1996.  

Style, Function, and Cultural Evolutionary Processes. With Robert Bettinger and Robert Boyd. In: Darwinian Archaeologies, Herbert D.G. Maschner (ed.), New York, Plenum, 1996, pp. 133-164.

Can Group-functional Behaviors Evolve by Cultural Group Selection?  An Empirical Test, with Joseph Soltis and Robert Boyd. Current Anthropology, 63: 473–494, 1995.

Why Does Culture Increase Human Adaptability? With Robert  Boyd. Ethology and Sociobiology. 16: 125–143, 1995.

How Microevolutionary Processes Give Rise to History. With Robert Boyd. In History and Evolution, M.H. and D.V. Nitecki (eds.), SUNY Press, Albany, 1992, pp. 178-209.

Rationality, Imitation, and Tradition. With Robert Boyd. In Nonlinear Dynamics and Evolutionary Economics, R. Day and P. Chen (eds.), Oxford University Press, New York, 1993, pp. 131-149.

Punishment allows the evolution of cooperation (or anything else) in sizable groups. With Robert Boyd. Ethology and Sociobiology 13: 171-195. 1992.

Cultural Inheritance and Evolutionary Ecology. With Robert Boyd. In Evolutionary Ecology and Human Behavior, E.A. Smith and B. Winterhalder (eds.), Aldine de Gruyter, New York, 1992, pp. 61-92.

The Role of Evolved Predispositions in Cultural Evolution: Or, Human Sociobiology Meets Pascal's Wager. With Robert Boyd. Ethology and Sociobiology 10: 195-219, 1989.

The Evolution of Ethnic Markers. With Robert Boyd. Cultural Anthropology 2: 65-79. 1987. Reprinted in The Evolution of Culture, Stefan Lindquist, editor.  Ashgate Press, 2010.

Simple Models of Complex Phenomena: The Case of Cultural Evolution. With Robert Boyd. In The Latest on the Best: Essays on Evolution and Optimality, John Dupré (ed.), MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1987, 27-52.

Natural Selection and Culture. With Robert Boyd. BioScience 34:430-434.  1984.

Why is culture adaptive? With Robert Boyd. Quarterly Review of Biology 58: 209-214, 1983.

Cultural transmission and the evolution of cooperative behavior. With Robert Boyd. Human Ecology 10: 325-351. 1982.

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