RE: memetics/memics/mimetics: a response to Bruce's challenge

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Tue 27 Jan 2004 - 17:43:27 GMT

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    Thanks for the reference to Bruce's challenges. He says:

    "For this reason I am challenging the memetic community of academics to achieve the following three tasks of different types:

    [1] "-- a conclusive case-study;

    [2] "-- a theory for when memetic models are appropriate;

    [3] "-- and a simulation of the emergence of a memetic process."

    My comments:

    [1] There is at least one 'conclusive' case study that has just been completed. The PI is considering now how to publish the results. Your suggestions on journals would be, I'm sure, welcome. The study used traditional scientific methodology: before and after observation, quantified measures, control groups, etc.

    [2] Our working theory is that memetic models (models of memetic dissemination) are appropriate in any instance where the creational and dissemination of ideas and models of behavior is of interest. We are not paying attention to what happens neurologically, though we do use models of human cognition that we have developed to probe what makes memes work and not work, and to predict dissemination and resistance to counter-memes.

    [3] If this means a simulation of the dissemination of memes, then our sense is that agent-based modeling may be the most useful on a micro-level. Our work to date on this is focused on using Systems Dynamics (Stella) to probe dissemination (along the traditional lines pioneered by the field of Technology Assessment in the 70s) to understand the causes of and constraints on the spread of memes at a sociological level.

    I hope this helps in tackling Bruce's challenges, which I find well formulated and important.

    Best regards,

    Lawrence de Bivort The Memetics Group

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