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conference title
 
 
organized by Susan Perry & Christophe Boesch
 
     
 
Place of the conference: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Date of the conference: 15th - 17th of September 2005
 
     
     
 

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 the variation 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 nature.
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.

 
     
 
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