Motor constraints in influence cultural evolution of rhythm

Colloquium by Dr. Helena Miton

Time: Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 6:30pm sharp

Zoom Linkhttps://zoom.us/j/92937161883?pwd=eTRSZW9XemFveWtsVEZrTkZYNEdMUT09
Meeting ID: 929 3716 1883
Passcode: 436051

Dr. Helena Miton

Motor constraints in influence cultural evolution of rhythm

While widely acknowledged in the cultural evolution literature, ecological factors-aspects of the physical environment that affect the way in which cultural productions evolve-have not been investigated experimentally. Here, we present an experimental investigation of this type of factor by using a transmission chain (iterated learning) experiment. We predicted that differences in the distance between identical tools (drums) and in the order in which they are to be used would cause the evolution of different rhythms. The evidence confirms our predictions and thus provides a proof of concept that ecological factors-here a motor constraint-can influence cultural productions and that their effects can be experimentally isolated and measured. One noteworthy finding is that ecological factors can on their own lead to more complex rhythms.


We welcome you all to join us via Zoom and we will send around the specific link on the day before the talk.