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The Evolution of Norms

Author(s): Ehrlich, Paul R.; Levin, Simon A.

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Abstract: Over the past century and a half, we have made enormous progress in assembling a coherent picture of genetic evolution—that is, changes in the pools of genetic information possessed by populations, the genetic differentiation of populations (speciation) (see summaries in [1,2]), and the application of that understanding to the physical evolution of Homo sapiens and its forebears ([3]; e.g., [4,5]). But human beings, in addition to being products of biological evolution, are— vastly more than any other organisms— also products of a process of “cultural evolution.” Cultural evolution consists of changes in the nongenetic information stored in brains, stories, songs, books, computer disks, and the like. Despite some important first steps, no integrated picture of the process of cultural evolution that has the explanatory power of the theory of genetic evolution has yet emerged.
Publication Date: 14-Jun-2005
Electronic Publication Date: 14-Jun-2005
Citation: Ehrlich, Paul R., Levin, Simon A. (2005). The Evolution of Norms. PLoS Biology, 3 (6), e194 - e194. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030194
DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030194
EISSN: 1545-7885
Pages: e194 - e194
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: PLoS Biology
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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