Culture: Copying, Compression and Conventionality

Monica Tamariz, Simon Kirby

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    37 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Through cultural transmission, repeated learning by new individuals transforms cultural infor-mation, which tends to become increasingly compressible (Kirby, Cornish, & Smith, 2008; Smith,Tamariz, & Kirby, 2013). Existing diffusion chain studies include in their desi gn two processesthat 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 iter-ated drawing design experiment. We find that learning seems to be the causal factor behind theincrease in compressibility observed in the transmitted information, while reproducing is a sourceof random heritable innovations. Only a theo ry invoking these two aspects of cultural learning willbe able to explain human culture’s fundamental balance between stability and innovation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)171-183
    JournalCognitive Science
    Volume39
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

    Keywords

    • cultural transmission
    • iterated learning
    • conventionality
    • compressibility
    • imitation

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Culture: Copying, Compression and Conventionality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Profiles

    No photo of Monica Tamariz

    Monica Tamariz

    Person: Academic (Research & Teaching)

    Cite this