Tag Archives: Boyd

Role of Culture in Bounded Rationality

golden-naped-barbetThis post examines Chapter 19 of Bounded Rationality.
That chapter looks at three ways  that cultural processes produce boundedly rational heuristics/algorithms. They are:

  1. Simple imitation and learning heuristics
  2. Over  cultural evolutionary time scale, the aids in number one have given rise to complex motivations, rules, cues, etc.
  3. From these first two, group processes that distribute cognition, knowledge, skill, and labor have arisen.

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Cultural Evolution

changeRicherson and Boyd have been spokesmen for explaining how culture transformed human evolution. Their book: Not by Genes Alone is the source of the quotations below. The “evolutionary properties of symbolically marked subgroups (tribes, religions, universities, etc) give rise to many problems and conflicts in complex societies.”  However, without the tribal social instincts, we cannot explain why our societies are so different from other primates. The institutions of our complex societies are built on ancient and tribal instincts that have imperfections coming from cultural evolutionary processes.

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