Do you know what makes us humans and not monkeys? I know the question seems odd, but the socio-cognitive mechanisms which have evolved gradually with the human race, that allow high-fidelity social learning, harmonize us to be the most successful culturally diverse ecological species. We can exhibit traits that can be selectively preserved, shared, reassessed, and accumulated. Although various fauna species seem to show a sociological and behavioural pattern, only humans have cultivated the strategy to adopt the social learning of escalated fidelity to supplement the cumulative behavioural traits generations after generations.
Over the years, various comparative and cognitive psychologists have found that the developmental abilities of a human child and that of a baby chimpanzee are very similar, except for the fact that the human baby possesses the capability to mimic others’ actions. A recent study was conducted where children, along with the chimpanzees and the capuchins babies, were made to do a foraging-like task with enchaining levels of difficulties.
Yes, the human babies performed the job with more ease as compared to their counterparts due to their multiple socio-cognitive abilities, including mimicking, teaching, and communication. The adults were also examined under similar conditions, proving that the high fidelity of social learning was adapted from their parents.
Moreover, the actions of mimicking were found to be higher in children who possessed elevated expertise or experience. The reason why the activities need to be copied is still not scientifically reasoned but is believed to inherit the same to provide a sense of uniqueness into each child, fortified based on their parents’ traits, supporting the cumulative cultural evolution.
The social learning of human babies shows an incepting trend in the long-term transmission of cultural information. The information gradually develops and synchronizes to be an evolutionary process aligning with the genetic evolution. The classical genetics phases Darwinism into variation, completion, and inheritance.
Let’s say the cultural traits circumscribing ideas and beliefs displays genetic variation. Thus, the difference in the memory retaining property or the efficiency shall impart competition into the organisms. The amalgamated effect of the modifications and the competitions leads to genetic drift, which accounts for evolution and diversity. As the process tunes to be evolutionary, various advantages adhere to the sphere of development, such as swift cultural adaptation, enhancement of the adaptive knowledge and fabrication of novel environments.
The recent studies are primarily focused on the quest to highlight the entire system of cultural evolution. The few questions that are being addressed presently are focused mainly on the source of these cultural variations, along with why certain traits seem to be encased more than the others. The compelling answer to seek is why these features are inherited when they could also be attained without being passed on from one generation to the other. While the genetic mutation is considered to be random concerning health, the cultural variations are more inclined towards non-random and directed.
The question remains for us to solve as to why the genetic inheritance is usually transmitted from the parents to the offspring (Mendelian Pathway) and that the cultural inheritance is dominated by the transfer of the characteristics from peers (Non-Mendelian Pathway).