I’m a cognitive scientist who studies cultural evolution.  Why?  Because cognitive science can provide the empirical fitness landscapes over which cultural artifacts and behaviors evolve.

I combine computational models with psychology experiments to understand the forces that change culturally-transmitted data sets over time and to understand how culture emerges from interacting individuals and is continually reshaped by them.

Here are some of my favorite topics:

1)  Framing learning biases as selection pressures on culture.

  1. 2) The role of drift in cultural evolution.

  1. 3) Bayesian models of cultural evolution and their (dis-)equivalences to population genetics models of evolution.

  1. 4) Micro- and macro-level analyses of cultural evolution and how to bridge them.

  1. 5) Language evolution.  How individual learning biases map onto the properties of the language learners share.

  1. 6) Linguistic regularization and the domain-general and domain-specific learning biases that give rise to it.

  2. 7) The coevolutionary dynamics of ideas (hypotheses) and material culture (data).