Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-jhnrh Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-05T02:58:49.204Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Memes shape brains shape memes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2008

Susan Blackmore
Department of Psychology, School of Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, United


Christiansen & Chater's (C&C's) arguments share with memetics the ideas that language is an evolving organism and that brain capacities shape language by influencing the fitness of memes, although memetics also claims that memes in turn shape brains. Their rejection of meme theory is based on falsely claiming that memes must be consciously selected by sighted watchmakers.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Blackmore, S. J. (1999) The meme machine. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Blackmore, S. J. (2001) Evolution and memes: The human brain as a selective imitation device. Cybernetics and Systems 32:225–55.Google Scholar
Blackmore, S. J. (2007) Memes, minds and imagination. In: Imaginative minds. Proceedings of the British Academy, ed. Roth, I., pp. 6178. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Bull, L., Holland, O. & Blackmore, S. (2000) On meme-gene coevolution. Artificial Life 6:227–35.Google Scholar
Darwin, C. (1874) The descent of man and selection in relation to sex, 2nd edition.John Murray.Google Scholar
Dawkins, R. (1976) The selfish gene. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Dennett, D. C. (1991) Consciousness explained. Little, Brown.Google Scholar
Dennett, D. C. (1995) Darwin's dangerous idea: Evolution and the meanings of life. Penguin/Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar