The evolution of prestige: freely conferred deference as a mechanism for enhancing the benefits of cultural transmission.

  title={The evolution of prestige: freely conferred deference as a mechanism for enhancing the benefits of cultural transmission.},
  author={Joseph Henrich and Francisco J. Gil-White},
  journal={Evolution and human behavior : official journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society},
  volume={22 3},
  • J. Henrich, F. Gil-White
  • Published 2001
  • Sociology, Medicine
  • Evolution and human behavior : official journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society
This paper advances an "information goods" theory that explains prestige processes as an emergent product of psychological adaptations that evolved to improve the quality of information acquired via cultural transmission. Natural selection favored social learners who could evaluate potential models and copy the most successful among them. In order to improve the fidelity and comprehensiveness of such ranked-biased copying, social learners further evolved dispositions to sycophantically… Expand
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