Adbusters, Issue 106: Mental Breakdown of a Nation

Featured during this issue:

Geert Lovink on our networked condition
Stefanie Krasnow on our digital realities
Franco “Bifo” Berardi at the moment act of the ecu tragedy
Adbusters on Chess vs. Weiqi
Fekku Ragabe!
#Goldman
Peak Humanity
Micah White and Chiara Ricciardone on touchdown a loss of life blow to capitalism
Andy Merrifield at the radical politics of memes

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Sample text

For a given amount WHY DOES CULTURE INCREASE HUMAN ADAPTABILITY? 43 of time and effort, the better an individual’s initial guess, the better on average its final performance. Now, imagine that the environment varies, so that different behaviors are optimal in different environments. Organisms who cannot imitate must start with whatever initial guess is provided by their genotype. They can then learn and improve their behavior. However, when they die, these improvements die with them, and their offspring must begin again at the genetically given initial guess.

When this probability is high, knowing the state of the environment in one generation tells little about the state of the environment in the next generation. In contrast, when the probability of switching is low, the environment in the next generation is likely to be the same as the environment this generation. There are two behaviors available to the organism: one best in wet conditions and the other in dry conditions. There also are two genotypes—learners and imitators. Learners figure out whether the current environment is wet or dry and always adopt the appropriate behavior.

77–100). New York: Academic Press. Galef, B. G. 1988. Imitation in animals: History, definition, and interpretation of data from the psychological laboratory. In: Social learning: A biopsychological approach, T. Zentall & B. G. Galef, eds. (pp. 1–28). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erbaum. Hauser, M. 1988. Invention and social tranmission: New data from wild vervet monkeys. In: Machiavellian intelligence: Social expertise and the evolution of intellect in monkeys, apes, and hen, R. W. Byrne & A. Whitten, eds.

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