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Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age

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From emails to social media, from instant messaging to political memes, the way we produce and transmit culture is radically changing. Understanding the consequences of the massive diffusion of digital media is of the utmost importance, both from the intellectual and the social point of view. 'Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age' proposes that a specific discipline - cult From emails to social media, from instant messaging to political memes, the way we produce and transmit culture is radically changing. Understanding the consequences of the massive diffusion of digital media is of the utmost importance, both from the intellectual and the social point of view. 'Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age' proposes that a specific discipline - cultural evolution - provides an excellent framework to analyse our digital age. Cultural evolution is a vibrant, interdisciplinary, and increasingly productive scientific framework that aims to provide a naturalistic and quantitative explanation of culture. In the book the author shows how cultural evolution offers both a sophisticated view of human behaviour, grounded in cognitive science and evolutionary theory, and a strong quantitative and experimental methodology. The book examines in depth various topics that directly originate from the application of cultural evolution research to digital media. Is online social influence radically different from previous forms of social influence? Do digital media amplify the effects of popularity and celebrity influence? What are the psychological forces that favour the spread of online misinformation? What are the effects of the hyper-availability of information online on cultural cumulation? The cultural evolutionary perspective provides novel insights, and a relatively encouraging take on the overall effects of our online activities on our culture. Cultural Evolution is an area of rapidly growing interest, and this timely book will be important reading for students and researchers in the fields of psychology, anthropology, cognitive science, and the media.


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From emails to social media, from instant messaging to political memes, the way we produce and transmit culture is radically changing. Understanding the consequences of the massive diffusion of digital media is of the utmost importance, both from the intellectual and the social point of view. 'Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age' proposes that a specific discipline - cult From emails to social media, from instant messaging to political memes, the way we produce and transmit culture is radically changing. Understanding the consequences of the massive diffusion of digital media is of the utmost importance, both from the intellectual and the social point of view. 'Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age' proposes that a specific discipline - cultural evolution - provides an excellent framework to analyse our digital age. Cultural evolution is a vibrant, interdisciplinary, and increasingly productive scientific framework that aims to provide a naturalistic and quantitative explanation of culture. In the book the author shows how cultural evolution offers both a sophisticated view of human behaviour, grounded in cognitive science and evolutionary theory, and a strong quantitative and experimental methodology. The book examines in depth various topics that directly originate from the application of cultural evolution research to digital media. Is online social influence radically different from previous forms of social influence? Do digital media amplify the effects of popularity and celebrity influence? What are the psychological forces that favour the spread of online misinformation? What are the effects of the hyper-availability of information online on cultural cumulation? The cultural evolutionary perspective provides novel insights, and a relatively encouraging take on the overall effects of our online activities on our culture. Cultural Evolution is an area of rapidly growing interest, and this timely book will be important reading for students and researchers in the fields of psychology, anthropology, cognitive science, and the media.

41 review for Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    Pairs well with Mercier's Not Born Yesterday by deflating some over-hyped worries about the negative effects of online media. I'll definitely be using some of the chapters on disinformation as a counterpoint to recent alarmist work on propaganda in the next version of my truth and bullshit class. Pairs well with Mercier's Not Born Yesterday by deflating some over-hyped worries about the negative effects of online media. I'll definitely be using some of the chapters on disinformation as a counterpoint to recent alarmist work on propaganda in the next version of my truth and bullshit class.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Smith

    Most of this book was summary reading for me. While this book fashions itself as a philosophy read, it is mostly a review of cultural evolution in a dominantly online space. It is more of a review of social, psychological, and information science of cultural evolution as enabled by modern data resources. While I learned new ideas and got good citations, primarily this book should be used as an overview of topics in the overlap of sociotechnical sciences and culture studies. Certain chapters of th Most of this book was summary reading for me. While this book fashions itself as a philosophy read, it is mostly a review of cultural evolution in a dominantly online space. It is more of a review of social, psychological, and information science of cultural evolution as enabled by modern data resources. While I learned new ideas and got good citations, primarily this book should be used as an overview of topics in the overlap of sociotechnical sciences and culture studies. Certain chapters of this book are well suited to a masters or PhD level course on digital culture, or communication and information science. There are some sections of the book that meander more so than get to a point of where research is heading. Probably one of the better contributions of this book is explaining where memetics historically has gone and its difficulties as a science, and also explaining the tradeoffs between crowd sourced knowledge versus individuated knowledge development. These two particular chapters are of primary importance.

  3. 5 out of 5

    szymborskalyte

    All over the place, like a bad Annual Review piece.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Oldemburgo De Mello

    As a researcher in the field of psychology of social media, I found most of the information on this book repetitive. But if you’re new to the topic, I think this book is a great start to understanding how much we really understand of the impact of social media in our lives. Contrary to popular documentary movies (such as “the social dilemma”), Acerbi takes on the theme are pondered and balanced. He acknowledges the lack of causal evidence for the influence of social media and yet discusses the p As a researcher in the field of psychology of social media, I found most of the information on this book repetitive. But if you’re new to the topic, I think this book is a great start to understanding how much we really understand of the impact of social media in our lives. Contrary to popular documentary movies (such as “the social dilemma”), Acerbi takes on the theme are pondered and balanced. He acknowledges the lack of causal evidence for the influence of social media and yet discusses the possible ways in which social media might be an instrument for cultural evolution. So if you want to dig into the nuances of how social media influences us, this is a good book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Riccardo

    well researched and sober discussion of the effects of social media on social and cultural dynamics, under the lens of our current scientific understanding of social learning and cultural evolution.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Arnaud Schenk

    Well researched, and convincing. In bad need of a more detailed oriented editor.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Abikoye Olufemi

  8. 5 out of 5

    Frankie

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stefan Veleski

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Chen

  11. 5 out of 5

    James

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amir Hossein Haji Shamsaiee

  13. 5 out of 5

    Simone Barbera

  14. 5 out of 5

    Basic

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rob Sica

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Ross

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mark Hill

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jens Fust

  19. 4 out of 5

    Peter Sogaard Jorgensen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Krankenhaus

  21. 4 out of 5

    R. Gabriel Esteves

  22. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian Engen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lasse

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bilge

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jett

  27. 4 out of 5

    Esben Kranc

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rex

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mia

  30. 5 out of 5

    Martin Gerlach

  31. 5 out of 5

    A Young Philosopher

  32. 4 out of 5

    David Nguyen

  33. 5 out of 5

    Hannes

  34. 5 out of 5

    Zera Yacob

  35. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

  36. 5 out of 5

    Sayon Camara

  37. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Elliott

  38. 5 out of 5

    Hind

  39. 4 out of 5

    Ida Mahler

  40. 4 out of 5

    Fred Grün

  41. 4 out of 5

    Achiraya

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