Memes through (social) minds

Rosaria Conte

in Darwinizing Culture

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780192632449
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670473 | DOI:
Memes through (social) minds

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This chapter takes a social cognitive perspective on memetics. It clarifies what a social mind is. In addition, it addresses social cognitive models and computational and simulation-based evidence. It also presents some important advantages of memetics. Moreover, contributions which could be offered by Multi-Agents Systems and Agent-Based Social Simulation to the development of memetics are explained. Next, a model of a social cognitive agent is summarized. Furthermore, the model is shown to address some fundamental objectives of a memetic theory: to explain how memes are transmitted; to formulate (working) hypotheses and predictions about to what extent given memes will replicate; to formulate hypotheses about which memes will be more likely to replicate given competition or interference among distinct memetic processes; and to study and anticipate which influences memetic transmission will have on social and collective behaviour. Some fundamental memetic notions are specified in terms of this social cognitive model. Only one primary characteristic of memetic theory is found unsatisfactory after a brief reconsideration of the (many) advantages and (some) disadvantages of the field.

Keywords: memetics; memes; social minds; social cognition; simulation

Chapter.  12888 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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