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ERIC Number: EJ1050525
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Culture: Copying, Compression, and Conventionality
Tamariz, Mónica; Kirby, Simon
Cognitive Science, v39 n1 p171-183 Jan 2015
Through cultural transmission, repeated learning by new individuals transforms cultural information, which tends to become increasingly compressible (Kirby, Cornish, & Smith, 2008; Smith, Tamariz, & Kirby, 2013). Existing diffusion chain studies include in their design two processes that could be responsible for this tendency: learning (storing patterns in memory) and reproducing (producing the patterns again). This paper manipulates the presence of learning in a simple iterated drawing design experiment. We find that "learning" seems to be the causal factor behind the increase in compressibility observed in the transmitted information, while "reproducing" is a source of random heritable innovations. Only a theory invoking these two aspects of cultural learning will be able to explain human culture's fundamental balance between stability and innovation.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A