Cultural Evolution – part 2/3: Game Theory and the Illusion of Explanatory Depth

Part 2 of a three part series on Cultural Evolution, created by Sue Borchardt in collaboration with Michael Muthukrishna. Sue Borchardt is a research artist living and working in Baltimore. Her work focuses on how complexity sciences can inform pragmatic…

Cultural Evolution -  part 2/3: Game Theory and the Illusion of Explanatory Depth

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Part 2 of a three part series on Cultural Evolution, created by Sue Borchardt in collaboration with Michael Muthukrishna.
Sue Borchardt is a research artist living and working in Baltimore. Her work focuses on how complexity sciences can inform pragmatic ways of engaging with and navigating messy situations.

Michael Muthukrishna is an Associate Professor of Economic Psychology at the London School of Economics (LSE). His other affiliations include Associate of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, Affiliate of the Developmental Economics Group at STICERD, and Technical Director of The Database of Religious History.
Michael’s research focuses on answering three broad questions: (1) Why are humans so different to other animals? (2) What are the psychological and evolutionary processes that underlie culture and social change, and how is information transmitted, maintained, and modified? (3) How can the answers to these questions be used to tackle some of the challenges we face as a species? He uses a two-pronged methodological approach to answer these questions, combining mathematical and computational modeling (evolutionary models, social network models, etc.), and experimental and data science methods from psychology and economics. He uses the “Theory of Human Behavior” that emerges from this approach to tackle a variety of related topics, including innovation, corruption, the rise of large-scale cooperation, and the navigation of cross-cultural differences.

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