Open questions about culture

I found my notes with the big questions and controversies, which came up at the Culture Conference I mentioned earlier. I think the most prominent one was:

How do we define cultural evolution?

Of course, it would ideal to have a definition of cultural evolution we could all agree on. But, given the diverse backgrounds of researchers currently working on the topic it is unlikely to be agreed on in the near future. I guess, we still have not understand this phenomenon enough to put it into words. This is similar to life, the species concept, or fitness, which are concepts happily used by many researchers but all of which are lacking a universal definition.

Further questions regarded:

How important is high-fidelity imitation/copying for cumulative culture?

Where lies the origin of cumulative culture?

What constitutes primate and non-primate innovation, how do they emerge, and how are they dispersed (if at all)?

Which types of social learning (imitation, emulation, teaching) do we find in other species and how important are they for cumulative culture?

These are all fascinating questions and each seems to have the potential to fill an entire life of research. Let us use our social learning and cooperative abilities and tackle them together.

(Please fell free to use the comment section in case you have got more questions which you feel are important for our research field.)

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