Cultural evolution is a relatively new and rapidly growing research field that aims at understanding how human culture changes and how we became cultural beings. It is an interdisciplinary field incorporating several disciplines within the humanities and social sciences, and also biology, artifical intelligence, and mathematics.

Researchers at the City University of New York have now investigated how this research field has developed. One of their findings is based on a cluster analysis showing how ideas and results from different research environments around the world relate to each other in a network, where results by researchers at CEK are prominent.

The analysis shows that CEK is at a central position in the research field with ties to almost all other research environments. CEK’s contribution entails general theory of cultural evolution, and studies of cooperation and social norms, of how humans became cultural beings and of cultural systems. Their paper also show the importance of an interdisciplinary approach and that a long-term investment is necessary for the field to develop and continue to grow.

Co-authorship network in cultural evolution
Co-authorship network in cultural evolution. CEK is part of the green cluster 2.


There is also an interactive version of the network of researchers within cultural evolution, where you can point at a node in the network to see the name of the individual researcher. Two researchers are connected if they have co-authored papers within the field.

The Centre for Cultural Evolution conducts interdisciplinary research between different faculties on the causal relationships that shape and change human culture in both the long and the short term. The work at CEK includes researchers from biology, mathematics, history, archaeology, anthropology, psychology, sociology, economy, political science, linguistics, the history of ideas, and philosophy.