Understanding Culture Across Species

Richard William Byrne, PJ Barnard, I Davidson, Vincent Janik, WC McGrew, A Miklósi, P Wiessner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent claims of culture in great apes have provoked fervent argument about the 'true' definition of culture, most of which has been unhelpful. Instead, a range of definitions should be used to explore different aspects of the cognitive processes that together result in human culture, many of which can be productively studied in non-humans. A richer cognitive account of the contents of culture needs to be developed and used to compare animal and human cultures, instead of sterile searching for a cognitive Rubicon between them. Exploring six views of culture, this article highlights the fundamental contrast of whether culture evolves as a by-product of cumulative change in cognitive mechanisms, or whether it is actively selected for its advantages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-346
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Volume8
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

Keywords

  • MODERN HUMAN-BEHAVIOR
  • HUMAN-EVOLUTION
  • CHIMPANZEES
  • PRIMATE
  • TRADITIONS
  • TECHNOLOGY
  • ORIGIN
  • TOOLS

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