“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
Altman, A. & Mesoudi, A. (in press) Understanding agriculture within the frameworks of cumulative cultural evolution, gene-culture coevolution and cultural niche construction. Human Ecology.
Mesoudi, A. (in press) Blind and incremental or directed and disruptive? On the nature of novel variation in human cultural evolution. American Philosophical Quarterly.
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.