Methods for studying cultural attraction

Christophe Heintz, Stefaan Blancke, Thom Scott-Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Cultural attraction theory (CAT) describes a general evolutionary process, cultural attraction, by which the spread and stability of cultural items (beliefs, practices, artifacts, etc.) result not just from differential reproduction, but also from transformations that systematically favor the reconstruction of cultural items of specific types. In this way, CAT aims to provide a general framework for the study of cultural evolution. In a thoughtful critical analysis, Buskell questions the ability of CAT to provide methodological guidance for research in cultural evolution. Can CAT be used to develop the sort of mid‐range theories and models that often drive empirical work? Here we argue that CAT can indeed be used in this way, and we outline the methodological practices that students of cultural attraction have used and are currently developing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-20
Number of pages3
JournalEvolutionary Anthropology
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • CAT
  • attraction
  • cultural evolution
  • method

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