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Can we measure memes?

McNamara, A (2011) Can we measure memes? Front Evol Neurosci, 3 (1). ISSN 1663-070X

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Abstract

Memes are the fundamental unit of cultural evolution and have been left upon the periphery of cognitive neuroscience due to their inexact definition and the consequent presumption that they are impossible to measure. Here it is argued that although a precise definition of memes is rather difficult it does not preclude highly controlled experiments studying the neural substrates of their initiation and replication. In this paper, memes are termed as either internally or externally represented (i-memes/e-memes) in relation to whether they are represented as a neural substrate within the central nervous system or in some other form within our environment. It is argued that neuroimaging technology is now sufficiently advanced to image the connectivity profiles of i-memes and critically, to measure changes to i-memes over time, i.e., as they evolve. It is argued that it is wrong to simply pass off memes as an alternative term for "stimulus" and "learnt associations" as it does not accurately account for the way in which natural stimuli may dynamically "evolve" as clearly observed in our cultural lives.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This Document is Protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. it is reproduced with permission.
Related URLs:
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2011 15:30
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2013 18:52
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/7879

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