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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Comparative cultural cognition

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Abstract Cultural learning is an adaptive mechanism which can lead to changes in behavior and cognition much faster than naturally selected genetic change. Although social learning is prevalent in many species, the capacity for significant cumulative culture remains restricted to humans. This capacity has been a driving force behind the evolution of complexity in our technologies and societies, and has allowed us to become the most widespread mammal on earth. The comparative study of cultural cognition assesses where important differences lie between species. A combination of observational studies in the wild, experimental studies in captivity, and field experiments together provide the most comprehensive methods with which to tackle the question. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition

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