SELECTED MEDIA

Video/Audio

Explaining some of the key points about innovation in the collective brain based on Muthukrishna, M. & Henrich, J. (2016). Innovation in the Collective Brain. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1690).  [Read More] [Download]

Talk describing the Database of Religious History (DRH) at the 2014 SSHRC Impact Awards in Ottawa, Ontario. [Read More]

Animation describing the vision of the Database of Religious History (DRH). Winner of the 2014 SSHRC Storytellers Competition. [Read More]

Explaining research on how “Sociality influences cultural complexity” to Philip Till at CKNW based on from Muthukrishna, M., Shulman, B. W., Vasilescu, V., & Henrich, J. (2013). Sociality influences cultural complexity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1774). [Read More] [Download]

Images

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Graphic produced by LILA, Harvard based on my talk “Sources of Innovation: The Secret of Human Success”. [Read More]

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Graphic produced by LILA, Harvard based on my talk “Sources of Innovation: The Secret of Human Success”. [Read More]

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Relationship between sociality (number of speakers) and language efficiency from Muthukrishna, M. & Henrich, J. (2016). Innovation in the Collective Brain. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1690).  [Read More] [Download]

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Experiment 2 showing difference between access to models on cultural loss and cultural complexity equlibrium from Muthukrishna, M., Shulman, B. W., Vasilescu, V., & Henrich, J. (2013). Sociality influences cultural complexity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1774). [Read More] [Download]

Experiment 1

Experiment 1 showing difference between access to models on cultural complexity from Muthukrishna, M., Shulman, B. W., Vasilescu, V., & Henrich, J. (2013). Sociality influences cultural complexity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1774). [Read More] [Download]

Press Releases

Winners of 2016 CGS/ProQuest® Distinguished Dissertation Awards Announced

http://www.proquest.com/about/news/2016/Winners-of-2016-CGS-ProQuest-Distinguished-Dissertation-Awards.html

WASHINGTON, DC, December 8, 2016 – The Council of Graduate Schools / ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards, the nation’s most prestigious honors for doctoral dissertations, were presented to Scott Cushing and Michael Muthukrishna at an awards ceremony during the Council’s 56th Annual Meeting. Dr. Cushing completed his PhD in 2015 at West Virginia University in Physics, and Dr. Muthukrishna received his PhD in 2015 from the University of British Columbia in Psychology.

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Our collective genius and why we are all getting smarter

http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2016/02/OurCollectiveGenius.aspx

New ideas and technologies are not the product of a few far-sighted geniuses but arise through societies and social networks acting as ‘collective brains’, says new research from LSE and Harvard University.

The paper, published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, argues that, over evolutionary time, individuals who mimicked other successful individuals –  eating the foods they ate or hunting with the tools they used, for example – became successful themselves without necessarily understanding why. Over time, innovations emerged through the mixing of ideas, serendipity and incremental improvement. These accumulated over generations and were similarly passed on as ‘cultural knowledge’ leading to the complex world we live in today.

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Majority rule: why conformity can actually be a good thing

http://news.ubc.ca/2015/07/28/majority-rule-why-conformity-can-actually-be-a-good-thing/

Like to go your own way? Most of us actually prefer to follow the pack, according to UBC research.

That’s one of the outcomes from a study published in Evolution and Human Behavior that examines how mathematical models predict human behaviour.

The research tested theories about when people should rely on “social information” – information that we learn vicariously from others – and when we should choose to go it alone.

“People are conformist – and that’s a good thing for cultural evolution,” said Michael Muthukrishna, a Vanier and Liu Scholar and recent PhD recipient from UBC’s department of psychology. “By being conformist, we copy the things that are popular in the world. And those things are often good and useful.”

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