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 [email protected]


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.