Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Atran: Folk biology

Cultural transmission with an evolved intuitive ontology: Domain-specific cognitive tracks of inheritance

Pascal Boyer a1
a1 Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, MRASH, Lyon, France


Atran's account of cultural transmission can be further refined by considering constraints from early-developed, domain-specific intuitive ontological understanding. These suggest specific predictions about the cultural survival of “memes,” depending on the way they activate intuitive understanding. There is no general dynamic of cultural inheritance; only complex predictions for domain-specific competencies that cut across cultural domains.