Psych M.D. - Memes


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Term: Memes
Definition (Myers): Self-replicating ideas, fashions, and innovations passed from person to person
Definition (alternative): a postulated unit or element of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, gets transmitted from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept of memes believe that they act as cultural analogues to genes, in that they self-replicate and respond to selective pressures. Memeticists have not definitively empirically proven the existence of discrete memes or their proposed mechanism; they do not form part of the consensus of mainstream social sciences. Meme theory therefore lacks the same degree of influence granted to its counterpart and inspiration, genetics.
Contextual explanation: Memes are the basic building blocks of our minds and culture, in the same way that genes are the basic building blocks of biological life. The breakthrough in memetics is in extending Darwinian evolution to culture. There are several exciting conclusions from doing that, one of which is the ability to predict that ideas will spread not because they are "good ideas", but because they contain "good memes" such as danger, food and sex that push our evolutionary buttons and force us to pay attention to them. Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins is credited with first publication of the concept of meme in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene.
Related terms and concepts:
Psych M.D. - Memes - The Neuron
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Edited by: Patrick



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