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Record identifier : 566806
Personal Name - Primary Intelectual Responsibility : Henrich, Joseph Patrick
Title and statement of responsibility : Cultural evolutionary approaches to adaptation, rationality, evolutionary psychology and economic behavior [Thesis]
Publication, Distribution,Etc. : University of California, Los Angeles, 1999
Language of the Item : eng
Dissertation of thesis details and type of degree : Ph.D
Body granting the degree : , University of California, Los Angeles
Summary or Abstract : In this dissertation, I comparatively explore the impact of cultural evolutionary processes on our understanding of human behavioral change and adaptation. In doing this I dispute the persuasive assumption that, especially in economic contexts, humans are best modeled as cost-benefit analysts or rational actors. Chapter 1 lays out the essential theoretical issues and, using data from throughout the social sciences, argues that humans rely primarily on various forms of cultural transmission to acquire their behavior, secondarily on trial and error learning, and rely least of all on the forms of cost-benefit analysis typically assumed by most social science approaches. Building on this, Chapter 2 demonstrates the power of culturally transmitted differences to influence costly economic decisions by presenting results from an experimental game performed among the Machiguenga of the Peruvian Amazon. In this high stakes bargaining game, the Machiguenga failed to show the behavioral patterns typically found among people in industrial societies, which are often assumed by many researchers to be a product of innate, pan-human preferences. Chapter 3 presents an evolutionary account of prestige, prestige-biased transmission and their accompanying ethological patterns. The second portion of this chapter marshals evidence from across the social sciences to support a series of empirical predictions suggested by the evolutionary account. Chapter 4 disputes the common assumption that peasants are risk averse decision-makers. Using both experimental data from the Mapuche of Chile and the Sangu of Tanzania, I show that these peasants do not behave risk aversely when compared to UCLA students and local non-Mapuche Chileans. I further support this result with ethnographic data from sharecropping and other risk-oriented economic practices by showing that risk aversion (and level of wealth) does not explain the variation in these practices. I suggest that biased transmission can better account for the population-level distribution of practices. Finally, Chapter 5 provides further evidence for the importance of biased cultural transmission in human behavioral change by presenting a model that combines both biased transmission and environmental learning to show that the empirically robust S -shaped adoption dynamics of the diffusion of innovations literature only appear when biased cultural transmission predominates..
Topical Name Used as Subject : Adaptation, Rationality, Evolutionary psychology, Economic behaviorCultural anthropology, Physical anthropology, Social psychology
Information of biblio record : TL
 
 
 
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