Applied Cultural Evolution: Social Learning and its Consequences in Heterogeneous Populations
|Author||Lukas VON FLÜE|
|Director of thesis||Prof. Dr. Sonja Vogt|
|Co-director of thesis||Prof. Dr. Charles Efferson|
|Summary of thesis||
The modern scientic study of culture claims that cultural evolution inevitably follows from simple
psychological biases that affect how we learn from each other. The implications are wide-ranging, with
cultural evolution shaping behavior in domains as diverse as market exchange, religion, and technological
progress. The details, however, are crucial, and an active research field has coalesced in recent years
around the empirical study of social learning and cultural evolution. As a key finding, the social learning
strategies people use to learn from others seem to be spectacularly variable. This kind of heterogeneity
can have dramatic consequences for how cultures evolve, but existing research provides little guidance.
This is the primary motivation behind the projects we intend to conduct during my PhD. The main goal is to examine heterogeneous social learning strategies and their cultural evolutionary consequences. All projects consist of incentivized behavioral experiments, which will be conducted in Kenya. One part of the experimentes will be conducted at the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Nairobi and the other part will probably be conducted in the field.
|Administrative delay for the defence||2023|