“a terrific new book [that] gives an accessible, authoritative survey of this burgeoning field”—Rob Boyd, Arizona State University, in Trends in Ecology and Evolution
“a valuable book [that] elegantly encapsulates the state of the art in what is shown to be a mature field of enquiry”—Tim Lewens, University of Cambridge, in Biology and Philosophy
“For just over a quarter century, scattered groups of renegade evolutionary social scientists have been quietly hammering away in the remote corners of anthropology, archaeology, biology, psychology, and economics to forge a fully Darwinian approach to culture. In elegantly assembling and synthesizing these disparate and often highly technical efforts, Mesoudi has turned on the lights and put out the welcome mat: the interdisciplinary science of culture for the twenty-first century is open for business.”—Joseph Henrich, Harvard University
Click on a paper to download the pdf
E = empirical study with original data, R = review article, M = theoretical model, OA = open access, no paywall on publisher's website. Links to data and code are provided where possible.
2019 / in press
Mesoudi, A. (in press) Blind and incremental or directed and disruptive? On the nature of novel variation in human cultural evolution. American Philosophical Quarterly. R
Brand, C.O. & Mesoudi, A. (2019) Prestige and dominance based hierarchies exist in naturally occurring human groups, but are unrelated to task-specific knowledge. Royal Society Open Science 6, 181621. Preprint on PsyArXiv E / OA / data and code
Derex, M., Bonnefon, J.-F., Boyd, R. & Mesoudi, A. (2019) Causal understanding is not necessary for the improvement of culturally evolving technology. Nature Human Behaviour 3, 446-452. Preprint on PsyArXiv E / data and code
Magid, K., Sarkol, V. & Mesoudi, A. (2017) Experimental priming of independent and interdependent activity does not affect culturally-variable psychological processes. Royal Society Open Science 4: 161025. E / OA / data
Mesoudi, A., Magid, K. & Hussain, D. (2016) How do people become W.E.I.R.D.? Migration reveals the cultural transmission mechanisms underlying variation in psychological processes. PLOS ONE 11(1), e0147162. E / OA / data
Reyes-García, V., Balbo, A.L., Gómez-Baggethun, E., Gueze, M., Mesoudi, A., Richerson, P.J., Rubio-Campillo, X., Ruiz-Mallén, I., Shennan, S.J. (2016) Multilevel processes and cultural adaptation: Examples from past and present small-scale societies. Ecology and Society 21:2. R
Schillinger, K., Mesoudi, A. & Lycett, S.J. (2016) Copying error, evolution, and phylogenetic signal in artifactual traditions: an experimental approach using "model artifacts". Journal of Archaeological Science 70, 23-34. E
Schillinger, K., Mesoudi, A. & Lycett, S.J. (2016) Differences in manufacturing traditions and assemblage-level patterns: The origins of cultural differences in archaeological data. Journal of Archaeological Methods and Theory. E
Lycett, S.J., Schillinger, K., Eren, M.I., von Cramon-Taubadel, N., Mesoudi, A. (2016) Factors affecting Acheulean handaxe variation: Experimental insights, microevolutionary processes, and macroevolutionary outcomes. Quaternary International 411, 386-401. R
Mesoudi, A., Chang, L., Murray, K. & Lu, H.J. (2015) Higher frequency of social learning in China than in the West shows cultural variation in the dynamics of cultural evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 282, 20142209. E / OA / data and also a Bayesian reanalysis (pdf / Rmd)
Schillinger, K., Mesoudi, A. & Lycett, S.J. (2015) The impact of imitative versus emulative learning mechanisms on artifactual variation: implications for the evolution of material culture. Evolution and Human Behavior 36, 446–455. E
Kempe, M., Lycett, S.J. & Mesoudi, A. (2014) From cultural traditions to cumulative culture: parameterizing the differences between human and nonhuman culture. Journal of Theoretical Biology 359, 29-36. M
Schillinger, K., Mesoudi, A. & Lycett, S.J. (2014) Copying error and the cultural evolution of 'additive' versus 'reductive' material traditions: an experimental assessment. American Antiquity 79(1), 128-143. E
Mesoudi, A., Blanchet, S., Charmantier, A., Danchin, E., Fogarty, L., Jablonka, E., Laland, K.N., Morgan T.J.H., Müller, G.B., Odling-Smee, F. J., Pujol, B. (2013) Is non-genetic inheritance just a proximate mechanism? A corroboration of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. Biological Theory 7(3) R
Danchin, E., Charmantier, A., Champagne, F.A., Mesoudi, A., Pujol, B., Blanchet, S. (2011). Beyond DNA: integrating inclusive inheritance into an extended theory of evolution. Nature Reviews Genetics, 12, 475-486. R
Mesoudi, A. (2008) An experimental simulation of the "copy-successful-individuals" cultural learning strategy: Adaptive landscapes, producer-scrounger dynamics and informational access costs. Evolution and Human Behavior, 29(5), 350-363. E
Mesoudi, A. (in press) The study of culture and evolution across disciplines. In Workman, L., Reader, W. & Barkow, J. (Eds) Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behavior. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
O’Brien, M.J., Buchanan, B., Boulanger, M.T., Mesoudi, A., Collard, M., Bentley, R.A., & Lyman,R.L. (2015) Transmission of cultural variants in the North American Paleolithic. In Aoki, K. & Mesoudi, A. (Eds.) Learning Strategies and Cultural Evolution During the Palaeolithic (Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans Series Vol. 3). Osaka: Springer Japan.
Aoki, K. & Mesoudi, A. (2015) Introduction. In Aoki, K. & Mesoudi, A. (Eds.) Learning Strategies and Cultural Evolution During the Palaeolithic (Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans Series Vol. 3). Osaka: Springer Japan.
Lycett, S.J., Schilllinger, K., Kempe, M. & Mesoudi, A. (2015). Learning in the Acheulean: Insights from experiments using handaxe form as a “model organism.” In Learning Strategies and Cultural Evolution During the Paleolithic (Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans Series Vol. 3), edited by A. Mesoudi & K. Aoki, pp.155-166. Osaka: Springer Japan.
Mesoudi, A. (2014) Experimental studies of modern human social and individual learning in an archaeological context: People behave adaptively, but within limits. In Dynamics of Learning in Neanderthals and Modern Humans: Cognitive and Physical Perspectives (Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans Series), edited by T. Akazawa. Osaka: Springer Japan.
Mesoudi, A., Laland, K.N., Boyd, R., Buchanan, B., Flynn, E., McCauley, R.N., Renn, J., Reyes-Garcia, V., Shennan, S.J., Stout, D., Tennie, C. (2013) The cultural evolution of technology and science. In Cultural Evolution, a Strungmann Forum Report, edited by M.H. Christiansen & P.J. Richerson. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Mesoudi, A. (2013). Studying cultural transmission within an interdisciplinary cultural evolutionary framework. In: Cultural Transmission: A Critical Anthropological Synthesis, edited by R. Ellen, S. J. Lycett & S.J. Johns. Oxford, UK: Berghahn Books.
Mesoudi, A. & Jensen, K. (2012). Culture and the evolution of human sociality. In: The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Evolutionary Psychology, edited by J. Vonk & T. Shackelford. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Mesoudi, A. (2010) Studying cultural innovation in the psychology lab. In Cultural Innovation: Contributions from Evolutionary Anthropology, edited by M.J. O’Brien and S.J. Shennan (pp.175-191). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Mesoudi, A. & O'Brien, M.J. (2009) Placing archaeology within a unified science of cultural evolution. In Pattern and Process in Cultural Evolution, edited by S.J. Shennan (pp. 21-32). Berkeley: University of California Press.
Mesoudi, A. (2008) The experimental study of cultural transmission and its potential for explaining archaeological data. In Cultural Transmission and Archaeology: Issues and Case Studies, edited by M.J. O'Brien. Washington, D.C.: Society for American Archaeology Press.
Short articles / comments
Henrich J., Boyd R., Derex M., Kline M.A., Mesoudi A., Muthukrishna M., Powell A.T., Shennan S.J. & Thomas M.G. 2016. Understanding cumulative cultural evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113:E6724-E6725.
Mesoudi, A. (2014) Cultural evolution in more than two dimensions: distinguishing social learning biases and identifying payoff structures. Commentary on Bentley, R.A., O’Brien, M.J. & Brock, W., Mapping collective behavior in the big data era. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37(1) 91-92.
Mesoudi, A. (2007) Extended evolutionary theory makes human culture more amenable to evolutionary analysis. Commentary on Jablonka, E. & Lamb, M. J., Précis of Evolution in Four Dimensions. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30(4), 374.
Mesoudi, A. (2007) Has mental time travel really affected human culture? Commentary on Suddendorf, T. & Corballis, M. C. The evolution of foresight: What is mental time travel and is it unique to humans? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30(3), 326-327.
Mesoudi, A. & Laland, K.N. (2007) Extending the behavioral sciences framework: clarification of methods, predictions and concepts. Commentary on H. Gintis, A framework for the unification of the behavioral sciences, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30(1), 36-37.
Mesoudi, A. (2011) Evolutionary psychology meets cultural psychology. Book review of Schaller, Norenzayan, Heine, Yamagishi & Kameda: Evolution, Culture and the Human Mind. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 9, 83-87.