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Cultural evolution of genetic heritability

Uchiyama, Ryutaro, Spicer, Rachel ORCID: 0000-0002-2807-8796 and Muthukrishna, Michael ORCID: 0000-0002-7079-5166 (2021) Cultural evolution of genetic heritability. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. ISSN 0140-525X

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0140525X21000893

Abstract

Behavioral genetics and cultural evolution have both revolutionized our understanding of human behavior-largely independent of each other. Here we reconcile these two fields under a dual inheritance framework, offering a more nuanced understanding of the interaction between genes and culture. Going beyond typical analyses of gene-environment interactions, we describe the cultural dynamics that shape these interactions by shaping the environment and population structure. A cultural evolutionary approach can explain, for example, how factors such as rates of innovation and diffusion, density of cultural sub-groups, and tolerance for behavioral diversity impact heritability estimates, thus yielding predictions for different social contexts. Moreover, when cumulative culture functionally overlaps with genes, genetic effects become masked, unmasked, or even reversed, and the causal effects of an identified gene become confounded with features of the cultural environment. The manner of confounding is specific to a particular society at a particular time, but a WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic) sampling problem obscures this boundedness. Cultural evolutionary dynamics are typically missing from models of gene-to-phenotype causality, hindering generalizability of genetic effects across societies and across time. We lay out a reconciled framework and use it to predict the ways in which heritability should differ between societies, between socioeconomic levels and other groupings within some societies but not others, and over the life course. An integrated cultural evolutionary behavioral genetic approach cuts through the nature-nurture debate and helps resolve controversies in topics such as IQ.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/behavioral...
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 18 May 2021 16:57
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 02:21
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/110498

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