Developing one or more cultures from a simpler to a more complex form is known as cultural evolution. Humans can adapt to newer traits, behaviors, and civilizations over time. To date, several proposed theories have tried to explain the complex patterns of transmission of cultural evolution.
Some say it is directly related to genetic development. When genes and culture interact with each other, they influence the transmission and selection of a particular trait or behavior. Factors like demographic status, human ecology, and many others control it.
As time progresses, human beings tend to change the frequency of a particular cultural variant. For example, someone invents a new skill that is more straightforward and better than the previous one. It gains popularity amongst the population, and the last technique gets obsolete.
As a complex species, we have a long-dated history of our ancestors. So the concept behind cultural evolution revolves around human beings adapting themselves to traits and behaviors that make their lives easy.
But now is the time to weave through science and make the story more compelling. So here we are with some ways you can contribute to cultural evolution by using your degree:
Contribution of Arts in Cultural Evolution:
Science values art in understanding the evolution of modern humans. The behavior and living lifestyle significantly impact the culture of a community. So if you wish to think broadly and strengthen your social and cultural analysis, you can opt for liberal arts.
Developing countries around the globe are now embracing the importance of liberal arts In higher education.
With the evolving world and our busy schedules, technology has made higher education effortless. E-learning programs are now accessible to everyone at all times. Universities are allowing earning liberal arts online degrees, making it easier for interested candidates to seek education without attending a physical university. The degree allows an individual to explore different aspects of arts and humanities.
Comparison of Similarities and Variations Amongst Different Cultures:
Are you curious about when and where life began, how were the first human societies, their language, and their culture? If yes then, cultural anthropology is your kind of field. Cultural anthropology is a vast field that studies living people, their cultures, and the variations they go through.
As a cultural anthropologist, you have to live in a particular society for at least one year and compare the variations you observe over time. The aim is to document all the possible cultural adaptations, their achievements and discern the covariation and changes in their ideologies.
Technology Shapes Culture:
Did you know that since the dawn of homo sapiens till today, technology is embedded in our lives? It is not only the computers we use in our daily lives, but our bodies are also physically altered through the medicines and vaccines we take. So technology is incorporated into our cultures through food, lifestyle—art, travel, etc.
Computer sciences, like most technologies, have affected the cultural norms of a society. They have altered the way people connect, their living environment, and the way they organize their time. The effect is even more prominent with the development of personal computing devices.
It has enabled people to work independently and remotely. While some people take it positively but some are concerned that technology has destroyed our cultural values.
Culture Wires the Brain:
A brain requires sensory stimulation from the environment to grow physically. The nature of the stimulus affects the network formation of neurons, which in turn is affected by the social environment. However, the culture of a community influences the social environment.
Cultural neuroscience and neuro anthropology are emerging fields that interlink these theories from psychology, sociology, anthropology, and cognitive neuroscience to understand the relation between brain, genes, and neuroscience at different timescales.
A cultural neuroscientist performs neuroimaging to determine that whether cultural differences of different populations have neural substrates. Hence, there is clear evidence that cultural values and life experiences affect neural activation and structure formation patterns. The brain is a quintessential part of the human body, and cultural neuroscience aspires to understand the ways culture can impact this biological organ.
Human beings are a unique species. We have evolved and survived for millennia. The evolution of culture and genes has fueled us with the adaptation keys to survive. Research says that culture steers human adaptations and it requires genes to accommodate. There is a significant reduction in aggression, more inclination towards cooperative and collaborative abilities.
Manipulating the genetic material of a community is known as genetic engineering. Genetic engineering has improved the quality of life by manipulating genes to prevent deadly contracting diseases. Scientists are progressing and learning more about this field daily.
Pharmaceutical development has led to the invention of a better version of medicine with time. Hence the potential of genetic engineering in cultural evolution is tremendous. However, further research is required to educate society about the pros and cons.
Role of Developmental Psychology in Cultural Evolution:
Cultural evolution is the branch of evolutionary sciences that proves that several factors influence human behavior and cognition. Genetics is a significant factor. However, psychologists have demonstrated that the psyches of individuals of a society significantly impact the culture of a community.
Developmental psychology applies approaches that focus on the interpretation of human behavior. Different methods capture human psychological constraints and their associated payoffs, utilizing the results in predicting the evolutionary underpinnings.
Interestingly, with time, psychologists now appreciate the role developmental psychology plays in cultural evolution.
In a nutshell:
Studying cultural evolution is beyond just academically important. It is of fundamental significance that it bridges the gap between academic disciplines and disparate approaches. Just like genetic engineering has led to a plethora of studies that prove the influence of culture on genetic variations.
Several other models demonstrate the interaction of demography, culture, psychology, and genetics. These models uncover the complexities in the determination of the behavioral variants observed in different communities.
So here, we explored different degrees and their applications in understanding human behavior and the cultural evolution observed over time.
Also Read- Degrees that can Bring Social Change