Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Cultural Transmission

  • Nick A. R. Jones
  • Luke Rendell
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1885-1


The term “cultural transmission” is widely and often imprecisely used in the scientific literature to refer to various forms and outcomes of social learning. This entry considers cultural transmission to refer to the specific forms of social transmission where knowledge is passed between individuals, through some form of social learning, resulting in persistent increases in behavioral homogeneity in a population or group. In this way, cultural transmission allows different populations or groups of animals to show distinct differences in behavior. As described in the social learning section (“Social Learning”), social transmission occurs when the performance of a behavior by one individual (directly or indirectly) causes a lasting influence on the rate at which a second individual acquires and or performs that same behavior. While social transmission can allow behaviors or knowledge to persist at individual level, only those behaviors or knowledge which persist long enough...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution, School of BiologyUniversity of St. AndrewsSt AndrewsUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Zanna Clay
    • 1
  1. 1.Durham UniversityDurhamUK