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Elena Miu

Research staff

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 3550 421
E-mail: elena_miu@[>>> Please remove the text! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests

Research Interests

I am interested in understanding human behaviour, learning, and culture from an evolutionary perspective using a broad set of methods, with a particular focus on the evolution of cultural products. I have a background in linguistics, artificial intelligence, and biology, and I have used theoretical modelling and large-scale experimental approaches to study the population-level dynamics of cumulative cultural evolution, as well as the individual-level decisions and learning mechanisms they arise from. I am currently working in the BirthRithes group on questions related to the role of prestige in the demographic transition, as well as the cultural evolution of pregnancy taboos.


Miu, E., Boyd, R., Richerson, P., & Morgan, T. (2020). A theory limited in scope and evidence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43:E171.

Miu, E., & Morgan, T. (2020). Cultural adaptation is maximised when intelligent individuals rarely think for themselves. Evolutionary Human Sciences 2:E43.

Miu, E., Gulley, N., Laland, K., Rendell, L. (2020). Flexible learning, rather than inveterate innovation or copying, drives cumulative knowledge gain. Science Advances 6(23):eaaz0286.

Miu, E., Gulley, N., Laland, K. Rendell, L. (2018). Innovation and cumulative culture through tweaks and leaps in online programming contests. Nature Communications 9:2321.