Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age

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Oxford University Press, Dec 3, 2019 - Information society - 272 pages
From emails to social media, from instant messaging to political memes, the way we produce and transmit culture is radically changing. Understanding the consequences of the massive diffusion of digital media is of the utmost importance, both from the intellectual and the social point of view.

'Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age' proposes that a specific discipline - cultural evolution - provides an excellent framework to analyse our digital age. Cultural evolution is a vibrant, interdisciplinary, and increasingly productive scientific framework that aims to provide a naturalistic and quantitative explanation of culture. In the book the author shows how cultural evolution offers both a sophisticated view of human behaviour, grounded in cognitive science and evolutionary theory, and a strong quantitative and experimental methodology. The book examines in depth various topics that directly originate from the application of cultural evolution research to digital media.
Is online social influence radically different from previous forms of social influence? Do digital media amplify the effects of popularity and celebrity influence? What are the psychological forces that favour the spread of online misinformation? What are the effects of the hyper-availability of information online on cultural cumulation? The cultural evolutionary perspective provides novel insights, and a relatively encouraging take on the overall effects of our online activities on our culture.

Cultural Evolution is an area of rapidly growing interest, and this timely book will be important reading for students and researchers in the fields of psychology, anthropology, cognitive science, and the media.
 

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Contents

1A growing network for cultural transmission
1
2Wary learners
21
3Prestige
49
4Popularity
71
6Misinformation
117
7Transmitting and sharing
156
8Cumulation
186
Conclusion
213
References
221
Index
237
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About the author (2019)


Alberto Acerbi, Lecturer, Centre for Culture and Evolution, Department of Psychology, Brunel University London

Alberto Acerbi, Lecturer at the Centre for Culture and Evolution, Department of Psychology, Brunel University London.

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