Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

The Trouble with Memes: Inference versus Imitation in Cultural Creation

Abstract : Memes are hypothetical cultural units passed on by imitation; although nonbiological, they undergo Darwinian selection like genes. Cognitive study of multimodular human minds undermines memetics: unlike in genetic replication, high-fidelity transmission of cultural information is the exception, not the rule. Constant, rapid "mutation" of information during communication generates endlessly varied creations that nevertheless adhere to modular input conditions. The sort of cultural information most susceptible to modular processing is that most readily acquired by children, most easily transmitted across individuals, most apt to survive within a culture, most likely to recur in different cultures, and most disposed to cultural variation and elaboration.
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [71 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Scott Atran <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 3, 2002 - 11:27:24 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, April 3, 2010 - 8:10:13 PM


  • HAL Id : ijn_00000123, version 1



Scott Atran. The Trouble with Memes: Inference versus Imitation in Cultural Creation. Human Nature, Springer Verlag, 2001, 12 (4), pp.351-381. ⟨ijn_00000123⟩



Record views


Files downloads