Category Archives: Conferences

Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference in Miami, Florida

I attended the 25th Annual Meeting of Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES) in Miami, Florida. I gave a talk on two laboratory experiments I ran on cultural transmission (in press). The experiments tested the predictions of several evolutionary models showing the relationship between sociality (population size, interconnectedness, etc) and cultural complexity.

My results show that when people can observe and learn from a wider range of teachers, groups can better maintain technical skills and even increase the group’s average skill over successive laboratory generations. These results suggest that the secret of our species’ success may lie in the combination of our imitative abilities and our sociality, not in our individual smarts.

Sante Fe Institute Workshop on Network Structure, Political Hierarchy and Economic Inequality

I was invited to a workshop on Network Structure, Political Hierarchy and Economic Inequality at the Sante Fe Institute. The workshop, organized by Sam Bowles and Paul Hooper, brought together leading contributors to the theoretical literature on social networks, anthropologists and other field researchers using network techniques to study the social structure of small-scale societies. I had the opportunity to discuss social network analysis and its application to the study of social structures and culture with several lead social network researchers, including Matt Jackson and Rajiv Sethi.

The project is part of the Santa Fe Institute’s Dynamics of Wealth Inequality Project.

Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana

I attended the 14th Annual Meeting of The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) in New Orleans, Louisiana. I presented a poster with results from two laboratory experiments I ran on cultural transmission. The experiments tested the predictions of several evolutionary models showing the relationship between sociality (population size, interconnectedness, etc) and cultural complexity.

My results show that when people can observe and learn from a wider range of teachers, groups can better maintain technical skills and even increase the group’s average skill over successive laboratory generations. These results suggest that the secret of our species’ success may lie in the combination of our imitative abilities and our sociality, not in our individual smarts.

Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico

I attended the 24th Annual Meeting of Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I presented a poster with further results from my model of the coevolution of brains and culture. The model is a plausible explanation for the expansion of the human brain size during the Pleistocene.

Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Conference in San Diego, California

I attended the 13th Annual Meeting of The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) in San Diego, California. I presented a poster at the Evolutionary Preconference with preliminary results from my model of the coevolution of brains and culture. The model is a plausible explanation for the expansion of the human brain size during the Pleistocene.