Unlike other organisms, humans acquire a rich body of information from others by teaching, imitation, and other forms of social learning, and this culturally transmitted information strongly influences human behavior. Culture is an essential part of the human adaptation, and as much a part of human biology as bipedal locomotion or thick enamel on our molars. My research is focused on the evolutionary psychology of the mechanisms that give rise to and shape human culture, and how these mechanisms interact with population dynamic processes to shape human cultural variation. I have done much of this work in collaboration with Peter J. Richerson.

School of Human Evoluition and Social Change

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ


phone: 310 909 3156

Our 2005 book entitled Not by Genes Alone: How culture transformed human evolution gives a nonmathematical treatment of this work, and is now available from the University of Chicago Press. Read Chapter 1. Here is an NPR interview with a brief account of our ideas about cultural evolution (Mpeg3)

Richard McElreath and I have a book entitled Mathematical Models of Social Evolution: A guide for the perplexed available from University of Chicago Press. Table of Contents