Conceptual approaches to culture and communication: Approaches from each of the three levels of selection

  • Bahari_Mohsen_MALK5000_2016.pdf (1M)


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Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus. Institutt for atferdsvitenskap

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Master i læring i komplekse systemer


B. F. Skinner suggested that selection by consequences is a process that occurs at three levels. Natural selection, selection of individual behavior and cultural selection. In this article we explore the third level of selection, through selectionist perspectives rooted in fields that have primarily focused on one of the three levels of selection. Contributions from evolutionary biology, sociobiology and cultural materialism are presented, and compared to behavior analytic views, commonalities are highlighted. We show how communication may be an elemental part of organizing in groups, and how this assertion is consistent across the approaches. From insect colonies to human society, communication is essential in coordinating group efforts. The cooperation among individual members of a group working towards a common goal(s) is enabled through communication. In addition, human communication is a prerequisite for members to work towards common group goals as opposed to individual interest when these elements are in conflict. Furthermore, we draw some links between the three levels of selection, and look at how they may influence each other.


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