Sunday, 7 April 2013

Dominant and recessive memes

Just as genetics features dominant and recessive genes, memetics features dominant and recessive memes.

The basic idea of dominant and recessive genes is that:

  • Variants compete;
  • When two different versions are present at once, sometimes one consistently overshadows the other in terms of its effects.
This idea transfers seamlessly to cultural evolution. There's dominant memes, recessive memes, zygosity, complete dominance, incomplete dominance, and pathologies from double-doses of recessive memes.

For example, reef knots dominate granny knots. For another example most words in English dominate those in Esperanto.

Homozygousity is not a terribly useful concept in cultural evolution - but most of the rest of the associated concepts apply about equally well to both realms.

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