Culture takes different forms, ranging from tangible objects like tools to less tangible behaviors and beliefs. When studying cultural phenomena, we therefore also encounter very disparate types of data. But how exactly do artifacts, mental states, and behaviors differ in cultural evolutionary terms? In particular, how are they learned differently, how do they vary in their cognitive bases, and what effects do these differences have on their innovation, spread, change, and extinction? In what ways do patterns across these phenomena differ, and to what extent does this reflect genuine differences in the phenomena themselves as opposed to different academic traditions and methods? The Penn Symposium on Tools, Beliefs, and Behaviors will bring together a diverse group of experts to address these questions. It will also serve as a focal point for Penn researchers interested in the evolution of cultural or social phenomena.
Monica Tamariz, Heriot-Watt University
David Lahti, Queens College, City University of New York
Kristian Tylén, Aarhus University
Elena Miu, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology