Topic of the conference:
For the past 40 years or so, there has been a debate as to
whether nonhuman animals exhibit culture/social traditions.
In recent years,
this aspect of the culture debate has been fairly clearly resolved,
as many species have been demonstrated to engage in social
learning. Now scientists are more interested in understanding
in each species’ cultural capacities, the social learning
mechanisms involved in creating traditions, and the circumstances
that select for these differences in cultural processes in
Although much progress has been made in developing methods for detecting traditions
in nature, methodological problems nonetheless continue to hamper the abilities
of researchers to make systematic cross-species comparisons of cultural capacities.
One aim of the conference is to propose and discuss criteria by which to assess
the complexity of cultures in humans and nonhumans. We will also devise useful
techniques for standardizing assessment of cultural complexity in animal societies
and also for demonstrating the role of social influence in the acquisition of
particular traits. We hope that this conference will facilitate collaborations
between researchers who will apply the concepts and methods generated in this
conference to their own research agendas.
The conference will host about twenty invited
speakers for oral presentations, to which all conference participants
are invited. Afterwards there will be closed workshops.
In addition, the conference invites poster presentations
on related topics.