Pehr Granqvist: "Attachment, culture, and gene-culture co-evolution"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Seminar through Zoom (contact Linda Forssman for link)
  • Organiser: Department of Psychology
  • Contact person: Linda Forssman
  • Seminarium

The General Seminar

Professor Pehr Granqvist, Stockholms universitet: "Attachment, culture, and gene-culture co-evolution: expanding the evolutionary toolbox of attachment theory"


Abstract
I argue that attachment relationships, and particularly secure ones, are important contexts for social learning and cultural transmission. Bowlby originally treated the attachment-behavioral system as serving only one evolutionary function: protection, via physical proximity. Yet the time is ripe to consider learning, especially social learning, as an additional functional consequence of attachment. Updated accordingly, attachment theory has the potential to serve as a much-needed developmental anchor for models of cultural evolution and gene-culture co-evolution. To support my arguments, I review progress in evolutionary science since Bowlby’s lifetime, highlighting the growing recognition of ecological flexibility and the cultural embeddedness of animal behavior. I also review research pointing to a facilitating role of secure attachment relationships for social learning from caregivers among humans. For illustrational purposes, I show how one important aspect of human culture – religion – is culturally transmitted within attachment relationships, and of how the generalization of attachment-related working models biases the cultural transmission of religion from parents to offspring. I end the paper with a call for empirical research to test the role of attachment in cultural transmission beyond religion.