Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri Mar 15 2002 - 03:37:22 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes"

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes
    Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 22:37:22 -0500
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    >From: "Wade T.Smith" <>
    >To: "Memetics Discussion List" <>
    >Subject: Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes
    >Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 20:22:00 -0500
    >Hi Scott Chase -
    > >I guess to sum it up, there's acquired and inherited aspects of wiring.
    >There is hardwiring which is developmental and _requires_ input, like
    >language. And culture. And memes. I would not call this 'acquired
    >wiring', but acquisition it certainly is. The tools of acquisition and
    >the places to put what is acquired are parts of what is 'hardwired'.
    I was saying that there's wiring with inherited and acquired aspects,
    getting away from the well worn (habitual?) dichotomy of hard- and
    softwiring. Then again maybe the wiring patterns are influence by heredities
    of genetic and social nature.
    >All creatures have unique elements of acquisition- their individually
    >evolved senses- and homo sapiens has (to all evidences and with sprinkled
    >and carefully constrained exceptions) a unique system of retention and
    >utilization of these acquisitions. I prefer the memetic side be the
    >utilization side. But, I do think (personal feeling, and regardless of
    >the fact that I'm not convinced, and I totally see an equal balance of
    >argument from the other camp, and I will sometimes raise the points of
    >either side) that memetics is unique to homo sapiens.
    In trying to check up on my thinking about what ethological fixed action
    patterns (FAP's) are, I just looked up John Alcock's discussion in his text
    _Animal Behavior (5th edition)_ which has a memorable picture of some guy
    yawning. Alcock offers yawning as a human FAP (and releaser). Does this mean
    yawns are rigidly instinctive? Yawns are also contagious. If your buddy
    yawns, you might just follow suit. So if we have a room full of people in a
    reasonably oxygenated room and our experimental confederate forces a yawn,
    if a predicted yawn cascade ensues, what have we? A FAP contagion event?

    People might have their own variation of a yawn and a stretch whereby they
    may have copied or mimicked something they've seen done before or innovated
    their own yawning style. Kinda boring behavior likely to cause yawning in
    those contemplating it, but a start. How many people are yawning now,
    reading this post?

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