Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Cultural EvolutionSociety, Technology, Language, and Religion$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter J. Richerson and Morton H. Christiansen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019750

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019750.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 25 February 2021

Like Me

Like Me

A Homophily-Based Account of Human Culture

Chapter:
(p.75) 5 Like Me
Source:
Cultural Evolution
Author(s):

Daniel B. M. Haun

Harriet Over

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262019750.003.0005

This chapter presents a homophily-based account of human social structure and cultural transmission, wherein a tendency to favor similar others (homophily) is a key driving force in creating human-unique forms of culture. Homophily also accounts for observed striking differences between human groups. From early in development, evidence demonstrates that humans show a strong tendency to interact with, and learn from, individuals who are similar to themselves. It is proposed that homophilic preferences of the group, in general, creates a feedback loop to ensure that children engage in high-fidelity copying of the group’s behavioral repertoire. This allows children to reap the benefits of others’ homophilic preferences and so maintain their position within the group. In consequence, homophilic preferences have transformed a number of mechanisms which humans share with other species (e.g., emulation and majority-biased transmission) into human-unique variants (e.g., social imitation and conformity). Homophilic preferences have, furthermore, spawned a new tendency to interpret the structure of actions as social signals: norm psychology. The homophily account thus connects previously disparate findings in comparative, developmental, and social psychology and provides a unified account of the importance of the preference for similar others in species-specific human social behavior. Published in the Strungmann Forum Reports Series.

Keywords:   culture, cultural transmission, social learning, homophily, self-similarity, social preferences, norm psychology

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.