Cultural diffusion in humans and other animals


Recent years have seen an enormous expansion and progress in studies of the cultural diffusion processes through which behaviour patterns, ideas and artifacts are transmitted within and between generations of humans and other animals. The first of two main approaches focuses on identifying, tracing and understanding cultural diffusion as it naturally occurs, an essential foundation to any science of culture. This endeavor has been enriched in recent years by sophisticated statistical methods and surprising new discoveries particularly in humans, other primates and cetaceans. This work has been complemented by a growing corpus of powerful, purpose-designed cultural diffusion experiments with captive and natural populations that have facilitated the rigorous identification and analysis of cultural diffusion in species from insects to humans.

Current Opinion in Psychology 8, 15–21.