Talk: Darwin’s curious parallel: Studies from an evolutionary science of human culture

Dr. Alex Mesoudi

The Department of Psychology invites to a talk with Professor Dr. Alex Mesoudi from University of Exeter, England.

The talk takes place on 8th May from 2-4 pm in Auditorium 1, The Faculty Library, Gothersgade 140, 1123 Copenhagen K.

Everyone interested is welcome to join the talk.


In the last few decades a new evolutionary science of culture - “cultural evolution” - has emerged. This field is highly interdisciplinary, involving anthropologists, psychologists, biologists, sociologists, linguists and more. They are united by treating cultural change as an evolutionary process, acting in parallel to genetic evolution. This leads to a focus on the essential elements of evolution: variation, inheritance, and selection. I will present some experimental and real-world empirical studies that I have conducted within this field to illustrate cultural evolution research. Contrary to popular claims, cultural evolution makes no assumptions about progress and does not classify societies into evolutionary “stages”. It also does not require discrete units of inheritance (“memes”). It does offer a powerful set of methods for analysing cultural change, one that bridges existing social science disciplines and forges meaningful links to the natural sciences in a way that takes both culture and evolution seriously.