1932

Abstract

Human culture is unique among animals in its complexity, variability, and cumulative quality. This article describes the development and diversity of cumulative cultural learning. Children inhabit cultural ecologies that consist of group-specific knowledge, practices, and technologies that are inherited and modified over generations. The learning processes that enable cultural acquisition and transmission are universal but are sufficiently flexible to accommodate the highly diverse cultural repertoires of human populations. Children learn culture in several complementary ways, including through exploration, observation, participation, imitation, and instruction. These methods of learning vary in frequency and kind within and between populations due to variation in socialization values and practices associated with specific educational institutions, skill sets, and knowledge systems. The processes by which children acquire and transmit the cumulative culture of their communities provide unique insight into the evolution and ontogeny of human cognition and culture.

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2019-12-24
2024-06-16
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